How to deal with a colleague who got promoted

21 Oct 2022

It is quite awkward your colleague gets to that promotion before you do and especially when you’ve to hide in what discomfort you’re feeling over it. Fret not, because this happens to almost everyone in their career.  

You would have sat next to each other and spoken quite regularly too, in fact. But, one day, everything changed. When your colleague got promoted to a higher rank and you were right where you began. With the range of emotions that you’re feeling, it’s all understandable. You might even be feeling proud—or you might feel a tad bit jealous that this has happened; however, to make the best possible move that benefits everyone takes some patience.Here's how to do deal with things when a colleague got promoted:

Kill that jealousy

It is natural to feel jealous. Yes, it’s one of the seven deadly sins and oh the virtuous don’t feel jealousy. But, humans feel a range of emotions when something they think unfair has happened to them — and this is one such circumstance. 

Therefore, it is okay to feel a little jealous, but then there might be a situation when your actions display a bit of your jealousy. 

And, this needs to be avoided.You must deal with the fact that colleague got promoted and you must lay rest to that feeling of jealousy that’s frothing inside your mind. No matter how happy you are for your colleague, a little envy will surely present itself in front of you. Staying jealous is not going to change or benefit the situation, however, you can let it fuel you in positive ways to stay ahead of your game. 

Don’t be judgmental

It’s quite easy to scrutinize everything your colleague does once they got that promotion. However, don’t let yourself do this. You might assume that they’re assigning you tasks and reminding you to complete them because she’s a micromanager. You might assume that if they remind you to do one thing twice, then they’re overbearing. But, this is not true and even you know it. They’re ahead of you and they’re responsible for quite a few things. And remember, they’re doing their job. There’s no need to let any sort of negativity rile you up in between, and get in the way of you doing your job. 

It’s okay to feel selfish

Instead of feeling sad and miserable that you didn't get the promotion you deserved, it is very important for you to change the way you think. You can start with thinkings of the ways you can benefit from these turn of events. You might have shared quite a few conversations about things when you were at the same level. Use these conversations and closeness to your new team-lead/in-charge for your benefit. This does not, by any means, mean anything unethical. For instance, if there are any changes you want happening—now your colleague is in a position of power. They can perhaps, make it happen! Remember, they’ve been in your shoes before.

Remember change is the only constant

Your coworker might have been your vent bucket. You might have gone to them whenever you were low or even spoken to them about issues you’ve not addressed with anyone in your office. However, now things are different. Now, they’re in a position of power and it might mean that your venting sessions are now over. Even though your in-office relationship has changed drastically, this does not mean the end of the world. By the end of the day, it is your workplace and not a place where you make friends. You might be in the ladder for success as well, and things will change. Always remember to never get too comfortable with one thing in a workplace that handicaps you from it ever changing. 

You’re a team

You might feel that your colleague didn’t deserve that promotion or they haven’t worked as hard for it and got it anyway. You might even feel that you deserved it more. However, don’t forget the bigger picture. You’re a team and you’re all focused on achieving career success. Achieving career success might actually be easier now that someone you knew has become your superior. Effectively accomplishing goals involves developing an understanding with your manager, communicating effectively, disagreeing when required and in a positive manner, and also when to ask for help—these things aren’t a hassle anymore now that this person has literally worked with you on the same level. Therefore, achieving goals together as a team can be brought down to an easier platform.  

Yes, reporting to them and following their orders for work can be awkward at first. But remember, if and when this happens to you, they are bound to feel the same. And you’d want to communicate with them that whatever might happen, the team always comes first.  

Whether your colleague got promoted based on efforts or anything else, never lose sight of what you really need to achieve. Because this isn’t a setback if you don’t see it as one.

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