I had a meeting with my manager regarding my career and promotion. I discussed my achievements which include product delivery, quality, and cost. I also nailed every single item on my KPI that he and I set together last year. My manager agreed that I made huge impacts on a few products and he would talk to his boss about my promotion. I am currently a mid-level manager leading three teams. Each team has a manager or a team lead helping me. I am essentially already doing the work of the job I expect to be promoted to.

I will have a follow up meeting with him soon. While I hope for the best, I would like to prepare for the worst. My plan is to insist him on my performance and delivery then ask him to share his reasons.

What is the best way to handle the meeting if his feedback is "no promotion this year"?

  • One point to clarify: The feedback and the action on that feedback are two different things, usually. Feedback relates to you, actions include the organization policies / decisions. Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 14:16
  • 11
    What does 'promotion' mean in this case? Are you after a change in job title, a raise, or a bigger team to manage? Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 12:04
  • 1
    @luizfzs I am currently doing the work of the job that I expected to be promoted to. I have demonstrated that in the last few products that I have worked on Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 13:54
  • 1
    @Lilienthal to be honest, I have not decided yet whether I would stay or leave. I currently have an offer with 30% increase and better perks but I don't feel like leaving my teams. At this point, I lean toward staying but I am not sure about the future Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 13:57
  • 1
    @CodeProject a 30% increase + better perks are pretty significant - are you sure you're not underpaid?
    – xxbbcc
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 22:21

4 Answers 4


What is the best way to handle the meeting if his feedback is 'no promotion this year'?

Listen to what your boss has to say. Listen to any areas where he thinks you need improvement and then do the necessary work to improve. Don't start any arguments.

The fact that he is going to speak with his boss about your promotion indicates that he is likely not opposed to promoting you and maybe cannot unilaterally make the decision. Ultimately, it could be his boss's decision whether or not you are promoted.

Sometimes your performance is not even a factor in whether or not you are promoted. There could be budgetary reasons for no promotion. You need to be prepared for this as well.

  • 103
    "Budgetary reasons" may include: a deadly pandemic killing hundreds of thousands of people, an economic recession, cold wars, trade wars, or a sweeping, international wave of protectionist policies. (Spoilers, we actually have all of these at present.) Commented Aug 18, 2020 at 23:15
  • 12
    @SeldomNeedy: Well, thanks for spoiling that for me...
    – user96551
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 13:43
  • 1
    Knowing company’s financial key help you dodge the covid bullet
    – famargar
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 16:49
  • We are in red in Q2 but the company financial is still strong. However, we are still hiring and promoting people Commented Aug 21, 2020 at 9:13

With COVID a lot of companies are looking to avoid increases and promotions this year and will use it as an excuse. You should be reasonably understanding that with the uncertainty it is hard to make long term decisions.

Make it clear you are disappointed and ask for written confirmation that were it not for other factors you would have received a promotion. You could also ask for a review in say January, rather than waiting a whole year.

You might ask to be promoted with a delayed salary increase if money is the issue, securing the role and a future increase when things settle down.

Another option is to ask for alternative perks, at least until the promotion is forthcoming, such as extra holiday.

  • 3
    I don't expect "asking for the written confirmation" would produce one. It is too easy for a lawyer to twist that into meaning "You are guaranteed to get a promotion in future, even if your effort level drops to zero and you screw up on every job you do from now on."
    – alephzero
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 0:26
  • 2
    Yeah, I wouldn't take the written confirmation route either. To me, it would come across as a me vs them attitude... Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 14:34
  • 2
    I would definitely go with a written confirmation. It's too easy for the company to renege without one. It's sad that the two previous comments assume the employee is the "bad guy". The company could just as easily decide to ignore or "forget" the conversation regardless of the OP keeping their end of the deal. And the vast majority of upper mgmt have a "us vs them" attitude with their employees. Having a written confirmation is a simple and the most basic thing the employee and business can have to make sure both comply. Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 15:55

What is the best way to handle the meeting if his feedback is 'no promotion this year'?

Unfortunately it's so common that it's impossible to say what is a good course of action. The best way is to figure out what sort of ways you can get the promotion and whether you qualify. I think your best way to handle this is to figure out if they're really serious or if there is a way you can promote. My guess is that you're more than qualified for the position but chances are they don't see it that for reason of your pay. They probably don't want to pay you more, but want you to do everything you're qualified to do. If that is the case, then you need to consider leaving as conditions probably won't get better for you.

There are three things you can do:

  1. Continue working as is.
  2. Find a new job with offer in hand and turn in your two weeks.
  3. Figure out how to get a promotion and whether you qualify. This requires you to sit in front of your boss, tell him/her that you absolutely want to promote and want to know how. If they say no, then look at #1 and #2 above. Otherwise, if they say you qualify but they really don't have an opening right now, then ask how soon will they know. Put your foot down and say you really want the promotion and you need an answer on how soon they can promote you. If they keep pushing it around, then I would look at #1 or #2 above.

What is the best way to handle the meeting if his feedback is "no promotion this year"?

No means no. It means you will not get more money, a company car or comparable benefits. Let me explain:

he would talk to his boss about my promotion

This makes it clear that your boss can't make the decision.

This is important, as it means that neither you nor your boss can change the decision during the meeting, and very probably it won't be overturned no matter how much dissatisfaction you voice and how understanding your boss is.

ask him to share his reasons.

Do not be confused. This meeting will not be a discourse with an open end. Your boss will relay the decision of "upper management", which might or might not have been influenced by his meeting with his superiors. Ultimately, in your upcoming meeting, you will have to live with what they give you.

Your boss will probably tell you reasons why they 'are unable' – they never say 'do not want to' – give you a raise. You will have to judge for yourself whether you believe the reasons and how likely they are to change. Then, you will have to treat this just as any other situation where your company denies you a salary incease despite you personally performing well.

Your course of action then should simply be dictated by the age-old question of whether the grass is greener elsewhere.

  • "no means no = no money/car/benefits" - I disagree. A "promotion" normally means a change in job role and title (with corresponding benefits). However, it's very common to get other benefits (raise, even a car/allowance) without the change in job title. So "no" may mean "but here's a compromise".
    – fdomn-m
    Commented Aug 19, 2020 at 17:02
  • OP has stated he already fills a role above his current title. So the promotion we're talking about has to be monetary. Commented Aug 20, 2020 at 9:15

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .