Your co-worker got YOUR promotion? Here what you need to do.
It’s devastating losing the promotion you deserved. It’s an unexpected turn in your corporate development career path. But things can get worse: watching someone else get it. And even worse than that: they’re less qualified than you.
As you witness this disaster, your blood pressure rises, your head begins to spin, and you whip yourself into defense mode. And the first thought that comes to mind is: “If that’s the kind of talent my company appreciates, then why in the world am I still hanging around here?” And then you want to just hot tail it out as soon as possible.
But you know what they say about being making quick decisions. Deep down inside, you know that this isn’t the time to do anything rash - especially one that could cause so much damage - veering you off your corporate development career path forever.
What you really need to do now is take a few deep breaths. Get out of the office. Meet up with some friends. Take a relaxing walk outside. Cook yourself your favorite meal. Do something to distance yourself from the bad news.
Once you’ve cooled down and are ready to get back on your horse, here are two crucial questions you have to answer as soon as possible:
Why didn’t I get the promotion?
Why did my co-worker get it?
Here’s how to go about answering them:
1. Why didn’t I get the promotion?
The answer to this question is pivotal to your career. It’s the only piece of information that will help you decide whether you should stay at your current company or hit the road. But for the time being, knowing the reasons why you didn’t get this promotion is key for understanding what you need to work on in order to achieve that next promotion. Unfortunately, you probably weren’t provided with a step-by-step plan when you met with your boss. That’s why I’ve developed a brief questionnaire that will help you understand the reasons you didn’t get this particular promotion. After filling out the questionnaire, you’ll receive a short, objective report that will help you analyze the current behaviors that might’ve led to your being rejected. Think of the report as a blueprint for your next promotion plan.
2. Why did my co-worker get the promotion?
Understanding exactly why your co-worker got the promotion is just as important as knowing why you didn’t get it. By finding out why your co-worker was promoted, you’ll gain insight into the most important competencies valued by your organization. These are competencies you might’ve missed out on or perhaps always felt were trivial or even counterproductive. But the truth is that the decision makers in your company evidently felt they were important enough as part of the criteria for promotion. Remember that you don’t necessarily have to agree with these competencies. And no one says you have to adopt them. That’s up to you, of course. But at least you should be aware of the game rules of the organization you’re at now.
Speaking of the organization, one thing you have to realize now is that all eyes are on you.
Everyone in your organization is watching to see how you take the bad news. Instead of giving them a show, read on to find out what you should be doing.
Face the person who got the promotion.
Make an appointment with your victor. When you arrive, shake their hand, let them know you’re happy for them, and sincerely offer your wholehearted support.
Rise above the crowd.
Probably one of the hardest parts of dealing with rejection is hearing how shocked everyone is and that it should’ve been your promotion. Be on high alert for such “comfort” and distance yourself from it as much as possible. Instead, declare that you respect the company’s decision. If, in private, you’d like to sulk a bit, that’s certainly natural and even desirable. But public display of self-pity or revenge are completely out of bounds.
Concerning your subordinates, remember that you serve as their role model and it is your job to show them how an effective manager deals with disappointment. The worst thing you can do for your team now is to introduce a sense pessimism, which will just work against you as you try to pick up the pieces. So instead of conceding to the feeling failure, use this disappointment as an opportunity to show your team how strong and resilient you really are.
Getting back on the horse after losing out on a promotion is probably one of the toughest challenges you’ll ever face in your career. Once you’ve had a chance to process what’s happened, it’s time to make a game plan that will help you seize the next promotion opportunity that comes along. By finding out why you weren’t promoted, you’ll be able to meet with your boss and honestly discuss the specific behaviors you might need to change - so that you’ll succeed the next time around.
And always remember:
Great managers are made. Not born.
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