Passed Over for Promotion: What Happened?

“How do I objectively assess why I’ve been passed over for a promotion – is it me or the company?”

execunetselect-thoughtful-womanBeing passed over for a promotion can feel like a tremendous setback, especially at this stage in your career when promotion opportunities are fewer and less frequent. If you’ve hit (or exceeded) all your numbers, it can be difficult to understand why you didn’t make the cut. Put your emotions on the backburner and turn an objective eye towards why you were not promoted.

Promotions to the executive leadership team are based on future potential, not just current performance. Some common reasons within your control include:

  • Lacking the right hard skills to do the job (e.g., analytical skills)
  • Lacking the right soft skills to do the job (e.g., leadership or teamwork skills)
  • Difficulty taking or applying constructive feedback
  • Lacking initiative (e.g., slow to identify problems and/or propose original solutions)

In some cases, it’s not you but the company. Perhaps the company feels they need fresh vision, leadership or change management expertise to shift business directions and they don’t believe you’re in a position to provide this guidance. Or, perhaps you’re in the wrong environment for your skills. As discussed earlier, if you’re a big ideas person but the company needs a taskmaster, you’re setting yourself up to struggle.

Written by Audra Gaswirth

Lucas Group

Lucas Group

As North America’s premier executive recruiting firm, Lucas Group works hand-in-hand with thousands of companies and talented professionals across a variety of industries and functional specialties. Since 1970, Lucas Group recruiters serve our clients and candidates with an unrelenting commitment to achieve clear executive search and hiring goals.

Lucas Group has been ranked 5th on the Forbes “Best Professional Search Firm” list for 2020, an independent ranking of 250 professional recruiting firms. The Forbes “Best Professional Recruiting Firms” ranked companies that place employees in roles with less than $100,000 in annual income. Lucas Group also ranked 8th on the Forbes’ “Best Executive Recruiting Firm 2020” list, defined as companies that place executives in positions with at least $100,000 in annual pay.

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