Jul 18, 2012
by Julie Leutschaft, MPA, MHA, The Human Touch, LLC
I keep getting passed over for promotion at my company and I can't figure out why. I have more education and experience than anyone else in the department. I come in early and leave late. I always go the extra mile and constantly receive praise and accolades from my peers and other managers in the company. I don't understand why I keep missing out on promotional opportunities, what gives?
~ Brad C. from Bend
I'm sorry to hear about the recent setback but know that it is just temporary and I do believe everything happens for a reason and the right opportunity will come along for you - even better than this one. A few words of advice for you, have you considered going to your direct boss and asking for specific feedback as to why you did not get the promotion?
Try to be introspective and really listen to the critique and then take some time to let it sink in - just marinate in it for minute but don't let it bring you down. Remember a crisis is a terrible thing to waste, so try and find the silver lining on this cloud of doom and gloom. Use the feedback as an opportunity to improve yourself.
Try to determine if the feedback has merit. If your ego got a bit bruised there probably is some truth to what you heard. Remember, you may not be able to make things better but there are ways you can make your situation worse. Always respond with grace, even though you probably feel like telling your boss off - cool your jets. Don't give your boss affirmation and validation for his decision not to promote you. Don't complain and bad mouth your boss or the person who got promoted. Be the bigger person in the situation. Thank your boss for the feedback and congratulate your colleague on the promotion.
If you have tried style fluxing and you still come up empty handed on future promotions, then you may want to consider jumping ship. How your coworkers and managers perceive you is a determining factor on future promotional decisions. If you can't change their perception of you and your job performance or if you don't want to then you may want to look for employment elsewhere.
Sometimes you need to move out to move up. Also, take a look at your direct boss and detect if he is the kind of person who tries to promote people and lift them up or is he threatened by you? Many bosses want to hire good people but they don't want them too good, because it is threatening to them.
The thing I look for in evaluating a boss is simple and that is - is the person (the boss) a kind person? Kindness is a highly desirable leadership trait and those who lack basic human kindness and dignity are to be avoided. Simple kindness is probably one of the most fundamental characteristics of a good leader. Surround yourself around people who are going to lift you up not push you down. You will become better when you play with those who are better than you and learn along the way.
A book recommendation on the topic of kindness in the workplace is The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval. A good read for bringing this much-needed trait back into our troubled work places.
Julie Leutschaft, MPA, MHA is an 25 year HR veteran and the owner of The Human Touch, LLC - management consulting and career counseling firm. Visit us at www.thehumantouchHR.com.