Someone is Sabotaging My Promotion

This is the fourth  in a series of posts where I will show you the ins and outs of getting promoted. Missed the first three – you can learn Where Do I Start to Get PromotedWhat Can I Do to Get Promoted and I Haven’t Been Promoted Yet Because….

Why? Because my new course, GET PROMOTED is open and I want you to see how much juicy information will be packed into this four-week adventure. I hope you’ll join us!

Someone is Sabotaging My Promotion

Maybe you know what you need to do to get promoted, or you think you know how. But there’s a huge road block standing in your way, sabotaging your success. Whether real or perceived sabotage, the end result is the same – you feel trapped with no support, and no way up the ladder.

My Boss Hates Me

Having a rocky relationship with your boss is the most common form of “sabotage” I see with my clients. When your boss isn’t a raving fan or ally of yours, it can make getting promoted more difficult. And let’s be clear – you will need to work on the relationship with your boss if you want to increase your odds.

But your boss hating you, isn’t a full stop to promotion. Here’s a few ways to overcome this kind of sabotage.

1. Get your boss’s friends on your side

Start building real connections and relationships with the people who your boss is friendly with, interacts with often, and would consider a mentor or friend. If you are able to connect with them and build a connection, they can help build a bridge between you two. Not overtly, not actively, but they will be able to say a few positive things about you when the time is right.

2. Address the situation head on

Your boss is going to have a say, a big say most likely, in your “ready now” status for any type of new role. So talk to him/her – lay all of the cards on the table. Don’t approach it as a confrontation, but have a conversation, with solutions ready, of how you can start rebuilding your relationship together.

Start by saying something like, “I sense there is a communication breakdown between us and I don’t want that for our working relationship. I’m sorry that things are off track – do you think we can start working on this together?” Then see where things go from there!

3. Turn your clients into raving fans

Whether you interact with internal or external “clients,” if they are raving fans of yours, the promotion “team” will not be able to discount their recommendations. Your clients won’t have the only say in the matter, so you can’t go completely around your boss, but having others provide an alternative “reality” of your capabilities during the promotion discussion is always helpful.

My Boss Won’t Let Me Go

You are just too darn good, that your boss is blocking you from being promoted or moved into a new role. It’s kind of crazy, but it happens all of the time (it’s happened to me twice that I am aware of). It’s not about being “too good,” it’s about delivering and being responsible.

Your boss has probably been burned by having lower performers on their team or people they feel they can’t depend on. Heck, that’s probably a majority of teams out there, right? So having you, a high performer, being a part of their team is extremely helpful; obviously they want to keep you even when you are ready to move on.

1. Create a clear “successor” if you move on

Having someone identified and trained to step into your shoes will go a long way to comforting your boss when the right position comes along. This starts before you have identified your next role – so, start now!

Start sharing your knowledge, processes and programs to someone who is eager to step-in. Don’t keep your awesomeness to yourself. Teach them your hints, tricks and special insights to help them get up to speed quickly. If they are there and ready, you can easily combat this discussion.

2. Find a more urgent business need for your skills

Sometimes you need to simply remind the powers at be that there is a better business need for your skills. That something else is more important to drive the bottom line of long term success. Find that need and become its champion!

If the conversation turns into what is best for the business and away from what is best for your boss, you will find other people on your side, very quickly. Have it be your pet project to shine a light on this need, and start the conversation.

3. Reassure your boss

Find a way to make your boss more comfortable with you moving on. Maybe it’s assuring them that you will still be available to answer any questions and transfer projects/duties for the next three months, no problem. Perhaps it’s ensuring that you will be a part of the hiring and training process for your successor.

Whatever it is that your boss needs, reassure them that you are there for them and will help in any way possible.

There are so many other possible sabotagers out there – your spouse/partner, your parents, yourself. The first thing you need to do, is recognize who is really in the way, ahem, and decide if you are willing to tackle the situation. There is always a way around those who are trying to hold you back – it’s not going to be easy, but it will be worth it, if it’s something you really want.


So, that’s where you can start to stop the sabotaging. Next week I’m going to talk about “I Don’t Know How.” For now, go check out GET PROMOTED. Go on, it’s worth a look.