So you didn’t get the promotion you wanted. Once you’re over the initial shock and disappointment, it pays to take a pragmatic approach and ask yourself what positives you can take from the experience. Reflect on the reasons why you may not have been successful and you will be better placed to move up next time. So what can you learn from the experience? We asked the experts to reveal the most common reasons for missing out on promotion…
- You haven’t had time to prove yourself
Have you been in the role or at the company long enough to establish and prove yourself? If you’re not ticking all the boxes or meeting the goals as agreed with your manager, you’re unlikely to be promoted.
‘It’s not always about results, especially if you’re looking to move into a management role,’ warns Kelly Kendall, Managing Director of Cordant People, a leading national recruitment organisation specialising in permanent and temporary general staffing positions.
‘Perhaps you need to show leadership skills, or you need to be a better team player? Find out what areas you need to work on from your manager and focus on these.’
- Your interpersonal skills let you down
You might have the relevant experience and always get great results, but do you rub people up the wrong way? It could be that your interpersonal skills have swayed the decision.
‘In today’s world of project teams and interconnectedness, it pays dividends build strong relationships within your organisation,’ says Rob Williams, an occupational psychologist and author of “Passing Verbal Reasoning Tests” and “Passing Numerical Reasoning Tests“.
‘If you’re not sure how you are perceived within the company, approach someone senior you trust and respect to act as a mentor and give you honest feedback. You don’t have to win popularity contests, but it helps if people warm to you, especially if you’re going to be leading a team.’
- You haven’t stretched yourselfHave you asked or taken on more responsibility that shows you are ready for a step up? It’s important to show that you can stretch and challenge yourself with different tasks when going for a promotion.
‘If you’re still doing the same job as before then your boss will assume that you haven’t got the right skills for the promotion,’ says Kelly. And don’t wait to be asked. ‘Put yourself forward for duties that are outside your normal role so you can prove yourself.’
- Senior stakeholders aren’t aware of you
It’s important to raise your profile internally to senior leaders, beyond just your boss. If your bosses’ boss is aware of you and the great work you’re doing then it gives your manager a stronger case to promote you.
‘Don’t let your work go unnoticed. Speak up, involve yourself in corporate events, put yourself forward for internal recognition awards and develop a progress report to share around,’ suggests Kelly.
‘Connections can help when it comes to climbing the corporate ladder. You and your work are the most important assets to a promotion but building relationships with senior stakeholders is valuable too. Not only can they guide you with valuable advice but they can champion your cause to be promoted.’
- You didn’t study the opposition
Were you fully aware of your opposition, or did the company’s choice surprise you? It can help to consider what the successful candidate offered that you did not, suggests Rob.
‘What is their niche in the organisation? How can you use the next career-enhancing opportunity that comes your way to build a niche for yourself?
‘It’s often worth reviewing the experience of recently promoted colleagues to see how you compare. If there are gaps in your skill set, make sure you go about acquiring them.’
- No one knows you want to be promoted
It sounds obvious, but if you want to move up the ladder then you have to let people know. You might have been in the job for years and know it inside-out, but length of service alone doesn’t necessarily mean you will be considered.
‘Don’t assume that because you’re doing a great job that your manager will automatically promote you,’ warns Kelly. ‘You need to let your boss know how much you want this promotion and work with them to develop the right skills that will line you up for the position.’
- You were just unlucky
Sometimes, you may have done everything right but just be the victim of unlucky timing. If you’re told that you’ve missed out due to external reasons, make sure you study the promotion system.
‘Some companies have set times and processes on how and when promotions are allocated,’ explains Kelly. ‘Be sure to familiarise yourself with these – that way you can prepare a strategy that ensures you’re ready for the next set of promotions.’
Image copyright by photodune