Asking For a Friend | Chapter 56
Advice from Babe to Babe
Sometimes hard work comes with hard situations. It can be tough to navigate conflicts we were never taught to deflate, but luckily the Babes have our backs. Buckle up for some inspiring advice and some good old tough love!
It’s only “pouty” if you do it with no conversation or notice. I’ve been in the scenario several times, where I’ve felt someone was promoted ahead of me, for no reason. Because all of that is confidential, there may be things you didn’t know about the other person’s connections, qualifications, or skills. That being said, have a conversation with the decision-makers. No need to rehash the “why not me?” conversation, but you can have the “what can I do going forward?” conversation. Reframing the conversation to being collaborative and productive will give you more insight into the process, reduce their defensiveness on the topic and keep your professional reputation intact. If they come back with nothing of value or nothing you’re interested in doing, then you were going to quit anyway. At least the conversation would make sure you cover all your bases.
—Hillary Kirtland, Contributor
My experience with promotions is that there are typically some metrics involved to earn them, and rightfully so. A promotion is almost never guaranteed without great performance. If you were really being considered, you would know. It wouldn't be from hints, it would be from reports being drawn up analyzing your performance (and that of others competing for this promotion) from every possible angle. To me, it sounds very premature to quit, and pretty entitled to ask for reasons why you didn't get this promotion. Instead, I would ask how you could better position yourself for the next promotion. And I would try really hard to be happy for (and supportive of) your newly promoted coworker.
—Julie Lanka, BABE #206
While I can totally understand the hurt feelings, it doesn’t sound like the promotion was ever a guaranteed thing. However, it does sound like there was some commentary from your boss that made you think it was, and I don’t think it would be harmful to ask your boss something along the lines of: “Our recent conversations had me wondering if I was about to get promoted. Can you help me understand what I can work on to be considered for the next one?” Framing it up as a learning and growing opportunity will show you are willing to ask for help and improve your leadership skills, so you will be in a good place for consideration the next time around. Without fully knowing how the conversations with your boss have gone in the past (have you had conversations about wanting a promotion?), I think it would be premature to quit because you were passed over for one promotion. Keep your chin up, continue doing excellent work and show your leadership capabilities, and you’ll be moving up the ladder soon.
—Malisa Lieser, Contributor
I’ve been here before. So much so that my director at the time even challenged me to solve the motivation challenge and create a better team environment (on my own). Disengagement, demotivation and hostility are the armor (as Brené Brown would say) that people put on to hide deeper fears, vulnerabilities and insecurities. In my article, “Getting Along: How to Navigate Difficult Coworkers,” I address the idea of turning difficult coworkers into your biggest advocates. It all boils down to (1) know your boundaries and stick to them; (2) try your hardest to sincerely understand the other person and their needs; (3) create space for the other person to express their strengths, work through their challenges with you and tell you how you can be a better teammate to them; and (4) follow through and support them the way you would want them to support you. If you can be open, honest and authentic in your interactions—consistently, over time—they’ll come around. If they don’t, then you have to be OK with how they’ve chosen to react to their environment, as long as it doesn’t cross over the boundaries you set at the beginning.
—Hillary Kirtland, Contributor
Be direct. The next time this person wants to strike up a conversation, interrupt them (gently) before they can really get started and say, "Hey, I have a lot on my plate and really need to focus on getting work done" and then do just that. If speaking with them about the issue (again!) doesn’t solve the problem, is it possible to move spaces? If that's not an option, bring it directly to your boss and ask what they suggest doing so they're aware you've tried to mitigate the distractions, but now need their support.
—Diana Morris, BABE #182
I would approach the boss for advice. That way, you’re seeking guidance from your superior which makes it clear you aren't the problem, but not in an overly obvious tattle-tale way. Just express you’re grateful for an inclusive work environment, but lately it feels like his constant conversation is a distraction and your attempts to limit it have not been effective. I think everyone can relate to this, and your boss will realize you’ve been trying to make things right. (Plus, they might even have the best advice on it.)
—Amanda Olivero, Contributor
Step one in conflict resolution is to confront your cubicle-mate and be clear about what you need and what you require from him in order to be productive. Only after you’ve attempted the one-on-one resolution should you involve someone else, like your boss. It will be better if you go to your boss saying: “I’ve tried xyz with Mr. S and I don’t feel we’ve reached a resolution. Can you offer other suggestions?” Don’t just go and complain. Good luck!
—Jody Joynt, BABE #41
Until Next Week,
—THE BWH ADVICE GURUS
Asking for a Friend is Babes Who Hustle's weekly advice column that asks and answers the work-related questions on all of our minds. Looking for advice and guidance? Hit us with all of your questions below and stay tuned for next Wednesday's edition!