How to Lose a Promotion

How to lose a promotion in today’s working world.

You’re a good employee right? You come to work on time, do what the boss tells you, and now you are ready for a promotion. You crave more responsibility. You want that job, it is all you can think about, and so you approach the boss. You tell them all the reasons why you are the right person for the job. Days pass, you hear nothing, then suddenly the successful candidate is announced, and it’s not you. You get upset; you barge into the boss’s office and demand to know why. It’s your right, you think to yourself. How could the boss pass me over, you ask. Let me tell you why, from the other side of the story, the boss’s perspective.
As a manager, when I have a position open, the first thing I look for is an internal candidate. Much of my job as a manager is focused on developing people for the next level. No manager can really be a success if they fail at developing their people, so most managers will look inside the company for a candidate before seeking an outside hire. When looking at my employees for possible candidates for the position I ask myself some questions about each individual and their performance over a period of time. Have they grown in their abilities? Did they take the constructive criticisms I gave them and seriously consider the validity of it? Or, have they discounted all of my advice, given excuses for their behavior, and generally made no attempt to take any initiative in their current position. The latter will never be considered for a promotion.
Here are some examples of behaviors that I have witnessed in employees over and over throughout the years. These are the same employees that become indignant when I try to explain to them why they will not be getting that promotion.

âÂ?¢Lying tops my list for obvious reasons. I have had employees simply make up answers to my questions about their work. Believe me when I say your boss likely knows when you are lying or simply making up excuses. If they ask you a specific question about your performance, they probably already know the answer and by trying to make up an answer or flat out lying your will lose their respect, possibly forever. Lying to a superior is a very hard thing for an employee to overcome. You may tell yourself, if you like, that your boss does not know you lied to them, but just realize that they probably do even if they don’t call you on it.
âÂ?¢Overly immature behavior. Now, everyone has their moments, I have yet to run across any human being, including myself, who does have an immature moment now and again. But constant immaturity in the workplace will get you nowhere but on the unfavorable list in the boss’s memory. An example of this is constantly going to your boss to complain about other employees. If you have a legitimate gripe about someone you work with, than fine, voice it. The manager needs to know about real problems and conflicts in the workplace. But, if you find yourself constantly having a problem with this co-worker, then that co-worker, oh, and now it’s the co-worker over there, then sooner or later, preferably sooner, you need to sit down and have a talk with yourself to see if maybe you are the problem rather than everyone else. A manager is going to remember the employee who has problems with every person they work with, but the memory will not be favorable.
âÂ?¢Complaining will, also, get you nowhere. When I look for a candidate to promote I look for qualities like a positive attitude, the ability to take initiative in their job, someone who can think for themselves and looks for solutions to the problems, rather than someone who simply sees the problems and stops there, without looking for a way to fix the problem. These are the complainers. They go on endlessly about how things aren’t running right, and they are a close cousin to the immature associates. These people go to their bosses, sometimes on a daily basis, with a long, detailed list of the things they have a problem with, but they never present their boss with a solution to any of the problems. I find that these people are often the most surprised when they are denied the promotion because they feel like they know what all the problems are so they should be allowed to run the show. What they don’t realize is a manager needs to be able to produce solutions; a problem will remain a problem until a solution is identified and implemented.
âÂ?¢Attendance problems. If you can’t come to work, I can’t promote you. In fact, I probably can’t keep you employed for very long. This does not, of course, apply to major illnesses, but, rather, those associates who are constantly sick, but nothing is really wrong with them. The manager sees these associates as uncommitted to the job. If you want to get promoted this is not the light you will want your boss to see you in. Just go to work, and try to be positive. If it is really that hard for you to do then maybe you need to look for a different kind of work that will make regular attendance a possibility for you.
âÂ?¢Employees who make it clear from the start that the only reason they want the promotion is for the money. Managers are people too, and we are not stupid. We know that one of the main reasons people seek a promotion is for the boost in pay. However, there is a reason that most interview advice books advise the candidate to not try to negotiate pay until well into the interviewing process. Wait for the employer to bring up the money part. If you approach your boss with the desire for a promotion and the next words out of your mouth are “Because I need more money.” Your boss’s mind will immediately shut you out. We, as managers, are not looking for employees who want to move up because they need more money. We are looking to promote people who want to improve our company. The successful candidate will be someone who want to solve the problems, help make the organization run better and recognizes that they need more responsibility in order to make their mark. The successful candidate wants more money, too, just like the other guy, but they realize that the employer wants to know what the candidate can do for them before they start thinking about what the company can do for the candidate.

If you are seeking to move up with your current company, then you need to ‘bring it’ everyday. Each and everyday at work you need to watch your behaviors, analyze any situation that might leave a bad taste in your bosses mouth. Come to work on time and actually work. Look for ways to improve your department or your company. Show your boss that you can handle more responsibility by taking the initiative and expanding your job. Don’t wait until the opportunity for a promotion opens up and ‘tell’ your supervisor why you are right for the job. You have to show them each and everyday that you are right for the job, that is the only way you will get the promotion you desire.

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