By-passed for Promotion Again!

My wife works as a lead project manager for a small firm (75-100 employees) for nearly 19 years and she started the department she works in about 17 years ago. Several years after the department started, the owners/executive management hired an outside manager for the department. A few years later, there was vacancy that was filled internally by a supervisor, then that became vacant. My wife has been the lead in that department since then with some managerial leadership provided by the then Director/now VP. She just found out today that a peer with less seniority was just promoted to manager of her department over her. It is a shock and I am trying to help her to overcome this morale blow and to find best path to move forward. 

I have worked for this company about 15 years ago and I understand some of the dynamics that goes on there, which is why I chose not to stay there, and I believe my wife is quite capable on managing this department; in fact, I am quite certain the department would not be as successful without her. I feel this was poor decision on the company's part, again.

Any suggestions?


David Coe



Two questions...

First, how are her relationships with people in the company? Can she get a fair and honest answer to "Why wasn't I promoted into that position" from someone without acquiring some negative label? If she really can get that answer, maybe she should ask.

Second, is she prepared to leave the company and find a job elsewhere? If she's been passed over more than once, she isn't likely to get the promotion the next time it comes up, years down the road.

Houston, Texas, USA
DiSC: 1476

Answer to Two questions . .

Her relationship with the management/owners have always been strong personally (apparently not professionally) but she is of the opinion that they share the same mindset and she does not see them differing in opinion. I did advise her that after her emotions cool down a bit to think about to whom she can speak about this upheavalwith manageers in her company but I agree with her that is unlikely she will get a fair answer - they tend to herd mentality. I found out since my post that because she is a high SC in DiSC, her management feels that she cannot be a good candidate to be a manager because she does not have a high D. I personally think, as part of the problem, that she is so talented with customer service and retention that they pidgeon-holed her in her current role without truly considering nor nurturing her professional growth.

She does realize that that it is unlikely she will move up in the company, especially after this latest fiasco, but she has been there so long that she is a bit despondent and uncertain where or what she can do next. She takes consolation that she is employed with a reasonable salary in this uncertain economy. But she is becoming more frustrated and unhappy with her company's support and treatment. I believe she has the skills and work ethics to be successful elsewhere. I am trying to be supportive, both lovingly and objectively, to help guide her to work on her caeer goals and move on to new adventures.

My suggestions, thus far, is to update her resume and touch base with her network.

Thank you for your consideration. It does help me think it through so I can help her.



I know how that feels

From my signature you'll see that I'm a high-S, high-C too. I'll spare you any recitation of my own feelings of stuckness, but I'm a "director" with no directs, and have been for more than ten years. People inside the company think I'm indispensable, but I think nobody outside the company would hire me. As you can imagine, it's not a fun place to be when I sink down into those feelings.

For now, I think the best things you can do are what you say you're doing -- be emotionally supportive (take care of her S) and ease her toward the more dispassionate (high C) preparation to look for new opportunities. Not that she has to go job hunting right away, but prepping can help her see more than just the recent rejection.

Houston, Texas, USA
DiSC: 1476


Once the emotion has drained out of your wife, she should ask politely what she can do to put herself in the best candidate slot for the next promotion.  I have found that for the most part, you will never get what you don't prepare for, ask for and fight for.  If you do, usually its something to be avoided.