Help! The superficial pals of management get promoted while my substance is overlooked

Help! The superficial pals of management get promoted while my substance is overlooked

Dear Aunty B,

I work for a medical devices company and am being overlooked for the leadership team even though I do a fantastic job and am well-respected in my industry.

Instead, who gets promoted are these wishy-washy types who don’t have a lot of great ideas but are seen to be professional, talk things up and get on with management.

I have just been through a performance review and was told that my negative attitude to things is stopping me getting promoted. But I call a spade a spade, am passionate about what we do and it really upsets me to see people getting the top jobs who shouldn’t.

Aunty B, how do I let my bosses know they are promoting the wrong people? If only they could see that my passion for the job and skills are what they want!

Overlooked and pissed off,


Dear Overlooked and pissed off,

I wouldn’t appoint you to my management team in a blue moon! There is one trait that overwhelmingly stops people being promoted to senior jobs. Unfortunately, it is also the very trait that stops the employee seeing what is holding them back.

Some people are just grumpy and negative. They are also hung up on their personality and personal brand – how they come across to people. They are a bit like teenagers: stomping around, looking at the world through a negative filter and that gives them a strong sense of identity. They also have a tendency to put other people down in order to boost their own fragile ego, which can cause havoc in teams and lead to very unhealthy work environments.

Look at it from the boss’s point of view. You are a highly valued member of the team. But unless you can learn to manage up and contribute in a positive way at the top meetings, you will continue to be overlooked. And moving won’t help. You will simply find yourself in the same position.

So here is what you should do. Have a really good look at yourself. And learn to shut your mouth, reframe thoughts into more positive statements and value the feedback you get from managers generous enough to give it.

Be smart,

Aunty B

Aunty B is currently on holiday and reportedly propping up a South Pacific island resort bar while in a G&T-induced haze. This blog originally appeared on December 12, 2013.



Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments