How To Get Passed Over For a Promotion

We’re sure you’ll agree when we say getting passed over for a promotion over and over again is frustrating. You’re the most tenured employee and the best performer, so you don’t understand why. Well, years of watching others get passed over have taught us that the reasons this happens are sometimes quite simple.

In this post, we’re going to share with you five reasons this may be happening so that you don’t have to suffer anymore.

Being passed over for a promotion is a situation that many find themselves in after receiving what seems like promises to be the next member of the leadership team. In some cases, the person who was offered the promotion you wanted, did a better job of selling themselves and their value. In other instances, you never had a chance because you’re just not ready or you weren’t aligned with the right people.

If you find yourself in this situation more than once, it’s likely the reason you’re being passed over has more to do with what you’re doing and not your performance.

Here are five ways to get passed over for a promotion and what you can do about it:

You’re Caught Up in Office Drama

Spending a third of your day around people will most certainly result in friendships and close relationships that lead to fulfilling conversations. Developing relationships at work is to be expected. However, companies do not want members of their leadership team caught up in office drama; they want you to manage it!

If you’re caught up in office drama, either creating or engaging in it, it’s a sign of immaturity and an inability to focus on the right activities.

Solution: Stay out of office drama, or else you’ll be viewed as a problem employee. It’s okay if people want to share but don’t step into the ring with them. Remain focused on what you’re at work to do, which is to produce. Maintain your work relationships with positive conversation and focus on topics that lighten the mood not bring in the clouds.

You Lack Motivation/Initiative

Managers love employees who go to the edge of the earth to get the job done because these types bring solutions not problems. They’re motivated to help the team move forward.

If you’re doing the minimum to get by, not going the extra mile or your manager must regularly ask you to complete tasks that you should complete without being asked, managing you is a chore.

Solution: Give 100% to everything you do unless your 100% is everyone else’s 80%. In that case, give 80%. Always ask your manager what you can do to help. Put in a few extra hours a week as your leaders do. Volunteer to take on additional projects when necessary. Pay attention to what keeps your leader(s) up at night and do whatever you can to assist. Also, educate yourself by reading books, listening to podcasts, etc. Doing so will polish your skills and keep you motivated and engaged.

You Don’t Follow “The Rules”

You’re not familiar with the business conduct policy or fail to comply with policies and procedures. You aren’t dependable, you’re always late, you don’t adhere to the dress code, and you casually hand out bad advice to whoever will take it.

No one wants to promote an employee who will set a bad example for others; you would be a terrible reflection of the leadership team.

Solution: Familiarize yourself with company policy and ask your manager about the spoken and unspoken rules of the office. Determine what acceptable and professional behavior look like in your environment and stick to what will keep you in the good graces of leadership.

Your Attitude Sucks

You go to work daily thinking that “it’s just a job” and it shows in your work. You’re cynical about everything, complain about anything and are quick to say that you don’t want to do something because it’s not in your job description. You refuse to work extra hours, call out sick more than most and don’t care about anything or anyone other than yourself.

A promotion for you is out of the question!

Solution: It’s time for you to leave because there’s no hope for you unless you dig deep and find a reason to change that sucky attitude. You’ve become an office cancer that’s likely holding the team hostage with your negative disposition.

You Expect It

Just because you’ve received regular praise for your work, you’re the most tenured employee, or the top performer doesn’t mean you’re ripe for a promotion. If you’ve come to expect a promotion without putting in the work, you’re going to be disappointed. Your contributions are the primary driver in being promoted.

So, ask yourself, how much have you contributed to the success of your team or department?

Solution: Stop being unrealistic about your skills and ask your manager what you should do to prepare for a promotion. Create a development plan that helps you develop the skills needed for the next level. Ask your manager and others for feedback regularly to ensure you are making progress.

Being passed over for a promotion is not the end of the world; it’s an opportunity for you to ask for feedback regarding what you can do to improve. Lick your wounds, then request a copy of our How to Become a Kick-Ass Leader guide and work with your manager to put together a development plan. You’ll land that dream promotion at some point; you have to put in the work to develop your skills.

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