My boss is looking to change jobs and wants to groom someone to take her position.  We work closely together and I can easily do her job. She does not think I am right for her position because she doesn't like my people skills, decision making, or lack of degree.  I think these are "made up" skills and I could do her job fine.  I think she doesn't like me very much and needs to propel the importance of her job to make her appear more important. 

They have posted a new position for her replacement.  The job description says degree or equivalent work experience.  I have all the qualifications.  Also, the job is two pay grades higher than mine.  I have been there five years and consider this a major blow.  My style is one that I put out huge amounts of work and am critical to the success of our group.  However, my soft skills are lacking but not enough to warrant being passed over for this promotion. 

I will be required to train this person and that idea makes me very resentful.  Should I start looking? or stay on board and see if this new person works out?  We are a small office and I worry about losing the respect of my coworkers.

deca's picture

Long-term success as a manager (or in any facet of life or business) hinges on one's ability to cultivate relationships, resolve conflict, think strategically and act with diplomacy. In your boss' words, that's "people skills" and "decision making."

Now that your boss has pinpointed those shortcomings, I'd encourage you to ask for her help in developing those areas. Doing so will show humility, willingness to learn/grow, and openness to criticism -- all of which are key ingredients to advancing your career and managing how you are perceived in the office.

In regard to training someone else, extending grace and giving your best to the team are the surest ways to garner respect and good will from others. Don't be surprised if, by doing so, your peers start speaking up on your behalf.

I've been in that situation--lost the job to an outside candidate, then had to train her. I decided I would treat her as I would like to be treated coming into the job. When the new hire didn't work out a few months later, guess who got the job? By that time, my promotion was a no-brainer.

As cheesy as it may sound, the best way to get what you want is by giving and focusing on relationships.

I hope this feedback doesn't offend you; it's what I would tell my daughter. 

All the best,


Singers's picture

I'm sorry to be a bit direct, but if her job is two pay grades above yourself and you can "easily do it" I think you are underestimating her responsibility.
If you mean you can do the "tasks" she do, the tasks them self is only a tiny bit of a managers job, where are working with others is more essential the higher you go!

Like Deca my advise would be that you take the feedback as what it is! (I would love to have had a manager honest enough to give me that kind of feedback years ago!) Start working on your people skills, without strong people skill you are forced to rely on your role power which is not a good long term solution. To do well long term on the key priorities of a manager, which is getting results and developing people, it's essential that you know & understand how to work with other people and work on you key weaknesses in terms of people skills.

I think you will greatly benefit from reading Marshall Goldsmith's book "What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful"

Good luck moving forward and remember as a manager it's not YOUR abilities that create results, you can have better skill's in your "work skills" then the CEO, but if you cannot get the best our of your own people and build essential relationships across the organisation, you will not get far.

Kind Regards
Mads Sorensen
Disc 4536

thebeezer's picture
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apatter292's picture

Great advice Deca

anthonyvigneron's picture


A good book here to consider from John Beeson and ensure you are "ready" for that executive promotion!

The full membership for Manager Tools & Career Tools is another good way to develop your readiness potential. This is no magical elixir but will focus your efforts over the next few months to improve your credibility as a manager and executive, ready when this or other roles are considered again by your senior management team.

Best wishes,