Why You Were Passed Over For Promotion
Updated: Feb 23, 2019
First of all - ouch. I'm sorry about that.
The bad news is: You're hurt and humiliated, and those emotions aren't going to magically disappear. You'll be feeling that for a while.
The good news is: You have concrete feedback that something you're doing isn't working! This is great news, because it means YOU CAN CHANGE.
I'm going to assume that you're willing to suffer the discomfort of changing because you believe that the pay-off will be worth it in the future. (FYI: If you're not willing to grow and change, then your life is going to suck forever, and you may as well stop reading now.) Here's a checklist of reasons that you may have been passed over for promotion. Look over each of these and honestly, deeply ask yourself if it applies to you.
1. You don't have enough experience or industry knowledge. It may be a simple case of inexperience - easily fixed. Learn more about your field. Take on more difficult cases. Find a mentor. Work extra hours, and do everything you can to gain more experience and expertise.
2. You are actually incompetent. It could be that YOU think you know your stuff, but everyone around you thinks otherwise (and with good reason.) It's hard to admit when you've made mistakes, but if you want to advance your career, you'll have to face the hard truth and make extreme changes to bring yourself back up to snuff.
3. Nobody likes you. Maybe you're good at what you do, but you're cold, standoffish, rude, or even offensive. If that's the case, then you can kiss that promotion goodbye! Maybe you're not really unlikable, but people ASSUME that you are. That means that your body language is sending signals that are sabotaging your success. Until you learn to send likable and friendly body language signals, people will go out of their way to exclude you and make your life difficult.
4. Nobody respects you. Maybe you're actually good at what you do - but people still disrespect you. They interrupt you, ignore you, and refuse to take you seriously. This happens when your body language tells people that you're not capable, confident, or competent - and because the message is coming from your body language, they will believe it. Until you learn to change your body language, you'll continue to be disrespected and overlooked.
5. You can't read people. You don't know what people are thinking and feeling, so you have no idea what they want or how they really feel about you. This leads to you making blunders, having misunderstandings, and generally making a fool of yourself. NOTE: You might not realize you have this problem, so ask your coworkers and friends! Once you learn how to read people's body language to know what they really feel and need, your life will get a LOT easier, and you'll have a much better shot at the next promotion!
Admitting to any of these problems will be painful, but you probably have at least 2-3 of these issues coming into play.
As CS Lewis said: "If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth -- only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair.”
In other words: The truth might hurt now, but if you embrace the truth and work to fix yourself, you may get what you want. If you bury your head in the sand and lie to yourself to spare yourself the pain of the truth, then you'll end up stuck and despairing. So tell yourself the truth.
Get a second opinion! Ask a friend that you can trust to be honest. Ask a mentor at work. Ask the person who turned you down for the promotion. Ask your boss! If your problem is inexperience or incompetence, your industry mentors will be the best bet to helping you recognize the problem and make the necessary changes. If you're great at what you do, but are coming across as unlikable, not getting the respect you deserve, or not reading people, that's where body language comes in. You'll need specialized help in discovering the body language signals you're sending, learning what signals you should use instead, and creating a long-term plan to use them successfully. You can get started by exploring this blog and following me on social media, but you'll get the fastest and most explosive results by working with me 1:1 in my personal coaching program. If you're ready to shatter the status quo and get the respect, recognition, and results that you deserve, then we should talk.