You’re convinced you’re making all the right moves and even your co-workers are impressed with your performance. Most importantly, you’re committed to the job, hard-working and ambitious.
So, why is it that you’ve been passed over for promotion?
It’s natural to assume that hard work and advanced competencies are enough to get noticed and be singled-out for promotion. In reality, it isn’t quite as simple as this.
Nevertheless, if you’ve been denied promotion once, twice or half a dozen times, there’s a good chance it’s for one of the following reasons:
1. You’re too quiet
First of all, if you don’t make your intentions and ambitions abundantly clear, you can’t expect the decision-makers around you to read your mind. You might perform at a level befitting a promotion-ready candidate, but what about actually telling them you’d like to climb the ladder? In so many instances, candidates become demotivated and disillusioned, despite the fact they’ve never even broached the subject with their managers.
2. You do too much on your own
It’s natural to assume that by showing yourself to be the independent, self-managed 2am-finisher when deadlines are tight, you’re a clear candidate for promotion. Sadly, taking too much on, failing to delegate and not making best use of all resources illustrates you’re not management material. Assuming more responsibility means having to know when, where, how and to whom to delegate tasks.
3. You lack the required hard skills
In many instances, employees are passed up for promotion simply because they lack the hard skills to get the job done. Even if you’re beyond outstanding in your current role, this doesn’t mean there aren’t one or two key tasks at the next level you’re yet to master. You’ll only find this out by researching upper-level roles accordingly, before pursuing promotion
4. You lack the required soft skills
Likewise, you may have all the key professional competencies, but lack the required soft skills. There are certain skills and traits – communication, diplomacy, conflict resolution, confidence, leadership etc. – that are more difficult to ‘teach’ in the conventional manner than others. If you’re in no doubt as to how advanced your hard skills are, you might want to focus on your soft skills.
5. You don’t respond well to feedback
Every time you’re passed over promotion, you have every right to an explanation from those in charge. However, it’s what you do with this information that will determine the outcome. If you shy away from criticism and write-off anything negative, you’ll never make the necessary improvements. At every stage as you progress through your career, there’s little of more importance than learning how to accept and respond to feedback.
6. You’re too confident
Sometimes, overconfidence can result in promotion opportunities being missed. This is because as the line is crossed into overconfidence, it’s hard not to become complacent. You think you deserve the promotion and it’s in the bag, so you naturally feel as if you don’t need to try as hard. Meanwhile, those around you who may feel they have an outside shot work harder, push themselves and ultimately stand out as better candidates for promotion.
7. You lack professionalism
One of the most common problems many employees face is that of getting a little too comfortable in their current role. Once you’ve mastered your responsibilities and been in the same setting for a year or two, you begin to feel like part of the furniture. Which in turn means that you may inherently allow professionalism to start slipping as you become too comfortable. There’s a difference between being good at your job and performing your role professionally.
8. You’re too pessimistic
Last up, employers are not in the habit of promoting those for whom the glass is half empty. The higher the position, the more optimistic, positive and driven you need to be. If you appear pessimistic in the position you’re in, it’s unlikely they’ll see you as an asset of value for the business. Think of what you say, how you act and the way you come across to those around you. Then ask yourself – would you give yourself the promotion, from their perspective?
Are you lacking the critical soft or hard skills necessary to progress in your career? Consider taking a flexible distance course that you can complete while you work.
About the Author
Abby works as the Communications Team Lead for findcourses.co.uk with a mission of connecting learning leaders with the data and information they need to provide the best training possible for their people.
Originally from Indianapolis in the U.S., Abby studied her bachelor’s at Hanover College in Business and Literature and has worked for findcourses since 2015. She is passionate about corporate learning and works internally to help organise Learning at Work Week within findcourses.co.uk's company of 165 team members, and provide and source external training in content creation as an in-house expert.
Abby is also the creator and editor of the UK L&D Report which interviews and surveys L&D leaders from top UK companies to help uncover data-driven best practice and easy-to-implement advice.