What Do You Do If You’ve Been Denied A Promotion?

If you’ve been gunning for that promotion, it can be more than heartbreaking if you’re passed up for the opportunity. But what should happen next. While you may be inclined to go through all the stages of grief, up to and including anger, there are some things you should and shouldn’t do when you don’t get that promotion. Before you make a big mistake that could affect the rest of your career, here are some tips to help you cope.

  • Be gracious. You’ll be going through a lot of emotions in your head when you’ve been passed up for a promotion. The key is to make sure you’re not acting out on them or expressing your negativity in a way that affects your employer or coworkers. Be gracious about the choice and know that there may be a lot of reasons this decision was made, so jumping to immediate conclusions won’t be your best move.
  • Ask questions. The next step, once the announcement has been made and you take some time to process it on your own, is to ask questions. Talk with your manager about the decision and why someone else was chosen over you for the opportunity. Stay positive and don’t get defensive, but truly listen to the answers. Be sure to include the question, “What could I improve or do differently to be considered for similar positions in the future?”
  • Learn from it. Of course, asking the question isn’t enough in and of itself. You need to act on the information given and work hard to improve whatever it was that led to the decision. There may be instances where the other person was simply more qualified, so take time to advance your knowledge and experience of the job. Or maybe they had concerns about your interpersonal skills or leadership skills. Whatever the reason, use it as a chance to improve.
  • Decide what’s next. Finally, once you have discussed the situation with your manager, you’ll need to decide what’s next for your career. It may be fine for you to remain where you are and continue to work hard for the next possible promotion. Or, you may decide that you need to seek out new opportunities. Whatever the case, be sure you don’t burn bridges in the process. To keep a confidential job search, partner with a staffing agency to help you find your next role.

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