turned down for promotion

Have you gone for a promotion and not been successful? How did it feel? I’m guessing not great!

In time you will be able to rationalise the situation but at the moment, it hurts. You feel embarrassed, angry and disappointed.

It can be especially difficult if you work for a large organisation that has annual or bi-annual promotion rounds and your peers have been promoted, when you haven’t. It can feel like a very public disappointment when the timelines are transparent and there is mass public communication about the outcome of the promotion process.

So, if you are in that situation, if you have gone for a promotion and not been successful, then what do you do? (If you prefer to listen rather than read, take a look at The Career Confidence Podcast: How to Face the Embarrassment of Not Being Promoted)

Stay Calm

Easier said than done, but take a deep breath and don’t do anything rash. Your initial reaction is probably going to be one of anger, complaining to your boss, picking up the phone to a recruitment consultant to start looking for another job or sharing your disgruntlement with any colleague that will listen.

Now is not the time to be venting your frustrations publicly. By all means, share with a trusted friend (preferable somebody that works for a different organisation), a partner or family member but try and keep your frustrations away from the workplace.

Acknowledge Your Emotions

If you have been passed up for promotion it is perfectly natural to feel disappointed, angry, jealous, frustrated etc. Take the time to acknowledge how you are feeling.

You might find it helpful to journal about how you feel so that you can unravel exactly what is going on. On the surface, you might feel disappointed but when you take time to reflect on how you feel, it may be a much deeper and stronger emotion such as rejection.

When you have identified the emotions that you are experiencing, sit with them for a while. They will feel uncomfortable and unpleasant but allowing yourself to experience the emotions will allow you to process them so that you release them and allow them to pass.

Be Gracious and Celebrate the Success of Others

Saying congratulations to the people who were successful is the last thing you feel like doing at the moment.  In all likelihood, you will need to have a working relationship with them in the future so grit your teeth and get on with it.

Take Time to Reflect

Ask yourself why you didn’t get the promotion:

  • Did you make it clear to those concerned that you wanted to be promoted?
  • Was there somebody else that was a better fit?
  • Was there somebody else with more experience than you?
  • What feedback have you received in the past? Have you acted on that feedback.

Again it’s easier said than done but try to take a step back and look at the situation objectively and come up with the reasons why you believe you didn’t get the promotion.

Ask for Feedback

Once those initial strong emotions die down it’s time to pull on your big girl or big boy pants and ask for feedback. Make it clear that you asking for feedback so that you can improve and be successful next time around. Keep the conversation positive and forward focused.

If you feel uncomfortable about the conversation you can almost guarantee that the person delivering the feedback is feeling just as uncomfortable but these are the kinds of conversations that we need to normalise.

Figure Out Your Plan of Action

Once you have done your own self-reflection and you have received feedback on why you didn’t get promoted, it’s time to think about the future.

  • What do you need to do to fill any skills gaps identified?
  • How do you see your role evolving within your current team?
  • Is it time to think about a change of role within the organisation or perhaps looking externally for another position?

To find out how I can support you to take the next steps after being passed over for promotion, book a time to talk HERE.