I'm a product manager working in a big company.

My track consists of two teams trying to build one product. The product is big and that's why we scope it to two different teams.

Our senior product manager left the company and they didn't hire a new one, hoping that one of the two product managers (me and the other one) will be promoted.

To be promoted, you need to work on a project that helps the whole department.

Last year while we were discussing the direction of the product, we had an idea that can benefit many parts of the company.

There was a competition between me and the other product manager about who will lead that idea.

He ultimately could get it by playing it "well". He ignored our main product. His team was suffering from lack of product management. He spent almost all his time preparing for that idea.

Later I was assigned to work with him, but because of the history, he knew more than what I did and the stockholder already knew him. So he was the leader.

Recently the product went live, and everyone in the company is positive about it. He will be promoted soon.

We normally sent a mail thread about updates like this to the whole company.

Will it be silly to congratulate him as a reply to that mail thread? Will I be perceived as someone who is trying to hide his pain?

  • 1
    It is called "good sportsmanship" which used to be something people got taught but not so much any more.
    – mxyzplk
    Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 17:11

3 Answers 3


Will it be silly to congratulate him as a reply to that mail thread?

It's not silly at all to congratulate a co-worker who got promoted. I'm sure he would appreciate it as much as you would have appreciated it had you been promoted.

Don't do a Reply All to the email with your congratulations. Instead, do it in person if you can, or via a phone call or separate email if you can't do it in person.

  • Why not both? Reply publicly to show that you're handling this professionally, and in person to show the colleague that you're not taking this personally. Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 2:59
  • 2
    I agree on the don't Reply All. I think congratulating people in person means more. And you don't have to worry about how it looks to people.
    – Jennifer S
    Commented Feb 28, 2020 at 15:54

Will it be silly to thank him as a reply to that mail thread?

There is no obligation to even reply. It's his moment in the sun, it's doubtful he's worried about you.


Think about what you would do if they would hire a new boss for both of you externally instead of promoting one of you. How would you react to that mail then? I don't think you can go wrong with that reaction.

  • There is one answer saying "do it", one saying "don't" and somehow the one that says "do as you normally do" has 2 downvotes? How does that add up? Does that make sense to anyone?
    – nvoigt
    Commented Feb 22, 2020 at 16:47

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