What to Do When a Colleague Gets the Promotion You Wanted?

When you get passed over on a promotion you wanted, keep on with your day-to-day and report to your newly appointed direct manager or team leader. If you’re eager to land a promotion, work harder and have an open discussion with your management regarding possible opportunities to undertake a managerial role.

There are generally two reasons why your colleague was promoted:

  1. They are better at what you do, more acquainted with the business, work faster and in a more efficient manner.
  2. They have showcased different skills that are more suitable for a leadership role.

The first scenario is purely based on motivation, proactiveness, crisp communication, and continuously delivering great results (according to management). Your colleague may simply be better than you. Or you may miscommunicate your assignments and convey lower value for various reasons.

I have a few employees that are generally shy and don’t communicate publicly a lot. I use different channels (their direct managers and colleagues) in order to assess their performance. If I rely on the “public channels”, I may as well decide that she or he is slacking or disinterested in the role.

The second option is related to a different type of skills. Two people may deliver the same amount of work with comparable quality. But if one of them is better at scheduling assignments, dealing with time frames, communicating with peers and management, they may be better suited for a leadership role.

After all, management requires soft skills and great communication chops. They may even underperform when compared to you, but excel at handling the planning for the rest of the team.

They’re the ones who make sure all the different jobs fit together well, so the whole team can do a great job. They’re good at organizing, making certain things run smoothly, and solving problems when people need help figuring out what to do next.

It’s not the end of the world for you anyway. Never stop working on yourself by developing your skills and studying what other areas of your scope of work do you need to get better at. Also, look at how you handle your relationship with your co-workers. 

When the time comes for an opportunity to open up, you will have a better fighting chance.