Last week on “The Office” we learned that Jim was promoted to the position of co-manager of the Scranton branch of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. I certainly wouldn’t be thrilled to have to share management duties with Michael Scott, but someone at the office would. Dwight began last night’s episode enraged about Jim moving up in the world, saying “I deserved that promotion; not Jim.”
Dwight spends the rest of the episode silently seething, stealthily spying and spiritedly seeking to spur his colleagues to revolt against Jim in his new position of authority.
“What right does Jim have to claim authority” Dwight asks the office. “Let us storm his castle.”
It’s an unfortunate fact of work life that there’s almost always more workers interested in a promotion than there are jobs up the ladder available. When someone gets passed up for a promotion they want and feel they deserve there are bound to be hard feelings.
The question is how to deal with it.
Behind those hard feelings is often a mix of feelings, including embarrassment and fear — embarrassment that everyone in the office will know about the rejection and failure — and fear that those above don’t see advancement in the employee’s future.
I think the best way to handle these rejections is with as much directness and honesty as possible aimed at addressing those underlying feelings.
If an employee simply wasn’t quite as qualified or ready for the promotion they missed out on, then you should say so. But don’t stop there. Provide concrete information about what the employee lacks and what he or she can do to improve and prepare for a promotion in the future.
It’s more difficult if an employee is simply not someone you would ever consider for a promotion, or at least for the promotion they would like to receive. Still, I think you need to be honest. Just be gentle about it. Everyone deserves to know what they can realistically expect to achieve. You don’t want to lead on an employee and have them hanging for months and years. Give them the information they need so they can make the decision to stay put or move on.
How do you handle these difficult situations? Share your stories here.
If you missed last night’s episode of “The Office,” you can watch it online.
Image credit, NBC