I had a conversation recently with an ambitious Emerging Leader who was crestfallen because she hadn’t received a promotion that she was nearly certain she was going to accomplish. Now, mind you, this is a pretty terrific person who is making a pretty strong contribution to her fast-growing organization, she’s no fool, by any means. And yet, despite all of the accomplishments she’s rung up, and all of the trust she’s built with her leader and her manager, her team, and her peers, she had come almost unhinged by the severity of her disappointment. So, her expectations had gotten a bit ahead of her reality. Her colleagues are all pretty terrific and one of them earned the promotion that she had been anticipating, fair and square, near as I can tell. So, how do you get yourself over your disappointment when your expectations run away with you and you begin to allow yourself to imagine the inevitability of that promotion you’re coveting?
We had a pretty candid conversation where I let her know that she had every right to be disappointed, for certain. Still, she needed to remember that her reaction to her disappointment was going to define her future at this organization. Sink into bitterness and frustration, and you are likely to damage your personal and professional brands, I told her. My advice was to quickly turn the page and go back to work, and continue to distinguish yourself by your emotional intelligence and social responsibility. Continue to be the best collaborator and teammate that you can become, and continue to create value for your company, your manager, your team, and your peers. There is no better alternative.
The Danger of The Culture of Complaint In my view, it’s perfectly fine to be disappointed about missing out on a promotion. However, your disappointment cannot turn into an issue for your manager, your team, or your peers, or you will make the chances of any future promotion extremely remote. Criticizing and complaining are not welcome in most fast-growing organizations, they just slow everyone down and create a distraction. Having a chip on your shoulder and acting like a victim are not great positioning for anyone who seeks to be viewed and perceived as a strong, confident leader. Play the role of a leader and bring positive solutions, and soon you are likely to be promoted into such a role. Conversely, play the role of a chronic malcontent who creates problems, and you’re going to become quickly left behind in your manager’s future planning for growth. It’s all on you to respond to your disappointment in a way that brings honor to you, or to accept the consequences for choosing a weak alternative. Your choice. Is it really a choice you need to ponder?
Manage Your Expectations I have been amazed by the expectations of some of the Emerging Leaders I work with at times. The same talented people who were promoted to Director or Vice President less than 12 months ago, are occasionally complaining that they haven’t been promoted again. I work with a lot of fast growth companies that are metamorphosing quickly, but I’ve never seen an organization that can promote their managers and leaders from one role into another in an annual cadence or even faster. Expectations need to be tempered by the reality of your situation. Your company will usually not promote you just because you WANT a promotion or feel that it is TIME for another promotion. They promote you because they have a business need, a problem to solve, and they come to believe that you are the solution to their business problem. It happens when it happens. Set your expectations wisely, and accordingly. Let your manager know that you are hoping to earn a promotion and ask them to help you to focus on the skills and experiences you need to gain that would make them feel confident in promoting you. Then get busy gain those skills and experiences. Ask your manager to help you to identify accomplishments that will tell her that you’re the sort of person she can invest in and trust to help her carry the leadership baton…
I truly hope this little blog article helps any of you who are suffering from the disappointment of being passed over for that promotion you were sure you would receive. Consider your mindset, and select an attitude of gratitude and go back to work demonstrating that you are just the person who SHOULD be promoted. If you position yourself properly and you EARN the promotion through your conduct and leadership, it will happen in time. I wish you the very best and encourage you to reach out to me, if you are having challenges with getting motivated after missing out on a promotion.
Michael is an Executive Development and Leadership Coach. Michael is certified as a Master Professional Business Coach by the Professional Business Coaches Alliance and founded a company called Michael Beach Coaching & Consulting that works with fast-growth companies all over the United States in industries like cybersecurity, data storage, software, high technology, marketing services, managed services, and many more. Michael and his coaches would love to help you if you’re an Emerging Leader and you need to get your career on the fast track. We’d also love to help you if you’re the leader of a company that should be investing NOW so that you have another layer of leadership ready when needed to take your organization to the next level….
Contact Michael at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call our Twin Cities offices or our Tucson offices.