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'My colleague got promoted over me': how to react to internal promotions
16 February 2016
When an opportunity for promotion arises at work, internal candidates may find themselves pitted against each other as they vie for the same opportunity. Regardless of whether you are friendly with those you're competing against, it can be a little uncomfortable to know that one of you will miss out while the other gets a shiny new opportunity, and probably a pay rise to go with it!
Whether you're the one who gets the job, or the one who misses out, how you conduct yourself during and after the decision-making process can have a long-lasting impact on team cohesion and how you're perceived by your colleagues.
If you get the promotion
The most important thing is to be gracious and sensitive to your co-workers potential sense of defeat. This doesn't mean you should pity them or make a show of consoling them - that kind of attention may make them feel worse.
Depending on how close you are to the colleague who was passed over, you may want to reach out and offer your consolations, however you need to be careful how you phrase this to avoid coming off as condescending or insincere, since you benefited from their loss.
A good approach is to send an email to the entire team (after the announcement of your promotion has officially been made), thanking management for this new opportunity and acknowledging that you were up against strong competition in your colleagues, and that you're looking forward to working together to achieve success.
If you didn't get the promotion
It's important you don't take the decision too hard, and that you don't let any disappointment affect your performance in your current role. Instead, use this as an opportunity to get a clear idea on what areas you need to work on in order to take the next step.
As with any interview process, it is completely reasonable to seek feedback on why you weren't selected, and this can act as your 'cheat sheet' on what skills you need to build up, or areas where you need to increase your experience to be a viable candidate next time round. Then set a time to speak with your manager and discuss where there are opportunities for you to gain this additional experience. There may not necessarily be those chances within the framework of your current role or company, but this just means you need to be proactive about seeking that experience elsewhere if you are serious about taking that next step.
RELATED: How to grow without a promotion
Importantly, try to feel genuinely good for your colleague - what you feel inside is reflected in your behaviour. This can understandably be hard, so try this: Ask yourself, ‘is this something I could achieve too?’
If you know it is (and you do, as you nearly got there), this can be a great motivator and helps to kill the bad feelings, spurring you on to bigger and better things.
Still itching to step up but not willing to wait for the next chance in your current company? Contact our experienced recruitment consultants to see what opportunities we have available for you!
Internal promotions can breed discontent, especially when those involved don't handle the news well.
- If you get the promotion it's important to be humble, gracious and to acknowledge the strength of the other applicants on your team
- If you missed out you should congratulate the successful candidate to avoid seeming bitter, and seek feedback on why you were passed over so you know how to improve your chances next time