What to Do When a Promotion Passes You By?


It happens in the workplace. You doubled your workload, extended your hours, followed and learned every new skill that was shown to you, and you even went on coffee runs! But still, on the morning when the announcement was made, the promotion that was promised to you was given to someone else.

It’s frustrating, it’s infuriating, you just want to run out of the room, go to the middle of traffic and shout out words that your mother did not teach you.

But you grit your teeth, force out a smile and shake hands, and congratulate the other person. Thank goodness for the Ten Second Rule. You go to a room to collect yourself. It’s time you handled this:


1. Gather information. Find out why the promotion was given to someone else. Speak to your manager and HR department to get a clear understanding of the decision-making process.

2. Reflect on your performance. Consider whether there were any areas where your performance could have been improved. If there were, make a plan to address them and improve your chances of getting a promotion in the future.

3. Discuss your concerns. Schedule a meeting with your manager to discuss your concerns and disappointment about the situation. Express your feelings and ask for feedback on what you can do to lock in that future promotion.

4. Look for other opportunities. If a promotion is not immediately available, seek out other opportunities for growth and development within the company. Consider taking on new projects, volunteering for leadership roles, or seeking mentorship from more experienced colleagues.

5. Upskill or master a current one. Learn a new skill that the company has very little of or master one that you currently have. Be the expert or the sole authority on a skill and you’ll get noticed in no time.

6. Decide what’s best for you. If the situation is not resolved to your satisfaction, consider your options and decide if you want to continue working for the company or if it’s time to explore other opportunities.


DCC knows what really happened here. The lack of open and honest communication between leaders and their employees. Not every manager can do it, no matter how long they have worked in their industry. Conflicts like these should never have reached a breaking point for the employee, a true leader is open to their employee and direct. There should not have been any issues with a promised promotion, communication should have already salved it beforehand. This is why DCC’s Transformational Leaders know Conflict Management. These two programs are part of our Leadership Development that’s right for your workplace. It’s the change you’ve been waiting for, let’s talk about it. Please email us at info@davidcouperconsulting.com.