Q) Margaret, I recently had my performance review and although it was a good review and I received a decent raise, I was really disappointed that I was not promoted to the next level. I was really expecting a promotion. My boss shared with me, that he was in favor of promoting me, but that his boss (our director) did not think I was ready. I have requested a meeting with our director to discuss this issue. My question to you is, how can I convince the director that I am worthy of promotion AND if I am not granted the promotion should I quit?
A) First let me tell you that I am sorry that you have been disappointed. I admire you for requesting a conversation with your director to learn his perspective about your qualifications for promotion. I would hope that your director will respect this type of initiative and that this will be a first step toward showing him that you are ready to move up.
Before you meet with the director, here are some things I ask you to ponder:
- What led you to believe that you were going to receive a promotion?
- Had you discussed the promotion and your qualifications for it with your boss?
- Are the qualifications for the promotion clear and can you clearly show that you meet or EXCEED the requirements? (In many cases it is not enough to meet the requirements; one must exceed the requirements or be obviously performing at the next level to earn a promotion.)
- Is your boss aware of and in favor of your meeting with the director to discuss your promotion? You don’t want to be perceived as going behind your bosses back.
When it is time for your meeting, be prepared to listen. When the meeting starts you will have to discern whether or not the director wants to drive the conversation or whether or not you should drive the conversation. In general, if after you come in and sit down (and perhaps after some small talk) if he does not start the conversation you should. No matter who drives the conversation you want to be calm and focused. You do not want to display anger or bitterness. It is OK to be passionate about the job and your belief in your abilities, just do not let that passion be mistaken for hostility.
Be prepared to tell him exactly WHY you are qualified. This means you should be able to provide him with a list of specific, quantifiable accomplishments. Really listen to why he tells you he does not perceive you are ready for promotion. It is OK to counter what he says with examples of why you are qualified, but be careful not to turn the discussion into an angry debate.
If the meeting ends without you receiving the promotion, make sure that you understand exactly what you need to do in the next year to prove yourself promotion worthy. Be sure you take those actions and that your results are visible to both your boss and your director.
Should you quit if you are not granted the promotion? No. Do your best to hold your head up, do an even better job and move forward. If you really cannot move forward with your current employer, you should start looking for your next job. It is generally not a good idea for any of us to quit in haste or when we are upset. You have probably heard the saying, “It is easier to look for a job when you already have a job.”
If your meeting ends with you receiving the promotion – congratulations!
Wishing you ALL the best with your scenario and I hope you will let me know what happens.