If you complain too much about a paltry pay raise or a minimal increase in responsibility, then you’ll make a bad situation worse. But if you accept the news with aplomb and then quickly regroup, you can gain leverage to extract longer-term concessions from your boss.
The problem often results from a clash of expectations.
By clarifying your career goals and adopting a flexible attitude when things go awry, you’ll buffer yourself from too much upset if your next promotion isn’t all that special. Here’s how:
Show grace. Even if your most bitter rival won out, don’t ask your boss, “Why did Chris get that promotion and not me?” A better tactic: Say something nice about Chris to demonstrate that you’re a good sport. Then encourage your boss to tell you exactly what you need to do to advance at the rate you want.
Juggle your job duties. The fact that you didn’t get the promotion you wanted signifies that there’s something wrong with the status quo. Find ways to revamp your current job description or get trained so that you can arm yourself for bigger, better challenges. Ask your boss to assign you projects that will allow you to prove your abilities.
Commit goals to writing. Hold both you and your boss accountable for your future promotions by drafting a memo that outlines your career plan and provides a timetable for your advancement. If your boss makes any promises or dangles any carrots, put these comments in print. By documenting this information, you can resolve any ambiguities upfront so that everyone’s expectations are clear.