When You Didn’t Get the Promotion – Don’t Get Angry – Get Going

Passed over for a promotion at work? Thought you would get the supervisor’s role and, all of a sudden, someone “far less qualified,” in your opinion, got it?

Yes, we have all been in situations that didn’t go the way we wanted or expected. It feels awful and we deserve a little empathy. Go ahead, allow yourself to ventilate, privately, about the situation, but then, get ready to answer the question: What can you do to change the outcome the next time?

Here is a roadmap to help you get what you want:

    * Write out a goal statement and make it specific with what it is that you wish to achieve and the timeframe.
    * Make a list of the skills and attributes required in the new position or that would be required to perform the role; if you don’t know, ask around or do some internet research on the role or position.
    * Honestly rate your current capabilities on each of the skills and attributes on a scale of 1 to 3 with 1 being no skill or capability and 3 being vast experience or ability to teach this to others; be honest; it will do no good to sugar coat your capabilities at this point; if you must, ask someone who knows you well to rate your skills and attributes.
    * Create a plan to move each of your skill or attribute ratings up one point; the goal is not to be perfect but to increase your capabilities so that you can be confident that you can perform the tasks.
    * Take whatever steps are necessary to increase your capabilities, whether that is professional development, gaining experience by working with others on tasks you have never performed or getting help from an informal mentor.
    * Do not assume that whomever is granting the promotions or selecting individuals for specific roles understands that you are interested in the task or in being considered for promotion; be sure that your direct manager understands your career aspirations, and practice the art of “blowing your own horn”-letting others speak about your capabilities and work ethic as you continue to perform to your usually high level; ask for feedback, in writing, after you have done an especially good job and make sure that your manager sees these third-party positive accolades.
    * Move out of your comfort zone by volunteering for committees, working on projects or even having lunch with people outside of your direct departmental colleagues; ask them about their work and what it takes to be successful; where appropriate, let them know that you are interested in helping on projects outside of your department or in getting to understand the business or mission of the organization; you will be perceived as someone who is enthusiastic, interested in the success of your organization and someone who is looking to make a contribution-all of these are success criteria for moving ahead in organizations.

Now you have a plan and some guideposts to help you in your quest. You can stop dwelling on why “they” didn’t promote you or choose you, and you will feel surprisingly more in control of your career.