How to Bounce Back After a Promotion Doesn't Go As Planned

Dear Office Mom,
I was just promoted to a new role within a health organisation in the UK. Less then two months in, my manager let me know I was trying too hard, she is worried about me and that I have lost my sparkle. I have not had the chance to enjoy my promotion because some of my peers have not given me support and others were angry because of the promotion. I have lost respect towards my Manager because of her lack of support. Am I wrong or was it sabotage, or am I not good enough because I work hard? I am upset and not able to sleep well. I am thinking I want to move on to another job as I am not happy. Please advise me. Thank you.
— Fatima

Dear Fatima,

Thank you for reaching out. First of all, congratulations on your promotion! Second, realize it’s not unusual for newly promoted individuals to have an adjustment period. It can be quite frustrating at times. It’s actually quite normal for people to congratulate you, wish you well and then forget about you. Third, with more responsibility, an increased focused on goals, patient care, efficiencies and so on, results driven individuals can lose their “sparkle” in the process. Four, this is certain to happen if individuals have not been adequately prepared and trained for their new responsibilities particularly as it relates to people skills and the coaching aspects of the new role. Too often the best, brightest, and the most talented are promoted but not given the tools and support they need to be successful in a new position. It can be frustrating, and make you question whether you are good enough and if you want to stay. 

Follow-up with your manager to get specific feedback

If you decide to stay, follow-up with your manager and ask for specific feedback, and tell her exactly what you need. For example, looking back at this instance with your boss:

  • “Can you explain what you mean by trying too hard? That’s a bit vague, and I’m having difficulty understanding what behaviors I might need to change  to be more effective in my new role.”  
  • "I feel some of the team members do not support my promotion and resist my efforts to manage and lead the team. What suggestions do you have that might improve the situation?"
  • "Are there training courses available, or might I benefit from a mentor or coach as I transition in my new role?"

Focus on your interpersonal skills

Sometimes "trying to hard" is code for interpersonal conflict of some sort. Read my advice to another young professional on how to respond to negative feedback. It's important to be prepared, have notes and ask for support. You may need your manager’s help in getting the team on board with your promotion and working together.

Seek another job with confidence

If you decide to leave, you will have this new role on your resume (good for you) and can hold your head high. Don’t dwell on your supervisor’s remarks, but do consider how you can learn and grow from them. Instead, focus on how you got the promotion, what you accomplished and what improvements and efficiencies you made. 

All the best to you and keep in touch!

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