10 Reasons you’re not the boss

Dear Evil HR Lady,

I am the senior person on my team. I handle the biggest workload of all my coworkers, and I have good performance appraisal ratings. So why did someone with three less years of experience than I have just get promoted and is now my boss? They didn’t go through an application or interview process. I’m really ticked and want to lodge a formal complaint.

To read the answer click here: 10 Reasons you’re not the boss

If the title sounds familiar, it’s probably because you saw the title at Ask A Manager first. I used Alison’s ideas for my article–with her permission, of course.

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12 thoughts on “10 Reasons you’re not the boss

  1. Not to mention the three things this person stated as making her qualified:

    * Senior person on the team.

    * Handles the biggest workload.

    * Good performance appraisal ratings.

    None of these things make her qualified to be the “manager of other people” which requires a different skill set from being an employee (even if she is the best employee)

    1. You are 100 percent correct. Unfortunately, many people think best worker bee=best manager. This is one of the reasons we have so many bad managers.

  2. I loved this blog. I have been asked this myself “how come I didn’t get considered for this promotion?” my first question back is always ” why did you want it?” if the answer has any variation of more money, prestige, bigger office, you know you made the right decision. Working hard is just not enough of a reason for being promoted. I always say that you are not a leader if nobody follows you….and you don’t need a title to be a leader.

    1. That’s an excellent question. What I want to know is what you consider a good answer?

      Why should people want to be managers?

  3. This happened to me recently. I was hoping for a promotion and the person who’s been here for 2 years (I’ve been here much longer) got it instead. It was a hard pill to swallow, but I had to try and look at it objectively. My co-worker is much older and has much more experience in this area than I do. I’m likely not ready for the kind of responsibility yet. Several family members and friends said I should complain to the boss. Why? It’s not like the boss will say, “Oh I’m sorry. I made a mistake. I’ll take the promotion away from Mrs. Smith and give it to you instead since you’ve been here longer.” It doesn’t work that way. There’s a reason I wasn’t picked: I’m not the right fit for the job right now.

    1. I think you’re very smart to have that attitude. It will serve you well throughout your career.

    2. I agree with Evil HR Lady – this attitude will serve you well. When you write “I’m not the right fit for the job right now,” it’s the “right now” part that makes me smile. It tells me that you know you have some work to do, and it sounds like you will do the work needed to be the top candidate next time. I wish you good luck (although I don’t think you’ll need “luck”…you’ll make your own luck). 🙂

  4. Isn’t this kind of like the Peter Principal ? You know, ” Wow I sold the most amount of chocolate cookies so I can now be a manager ” Or the managment think’s that way and promotes the person. A good baker doesn’t make a good manager. Just makes them a good baker.
    A lot, A LOT of people don’t get that.
    I have been in managment and it is not all that it is cracked up to be. I didn’t dislike it, I didn’t love it. I didn’t do it for power but it was the right move at the time. And I had really really good mentors and HR people to guide me in the right direction for issues as they came up.

    There was a girl that wanted so badly to be a supervisor. She got the job and failed miserably within 6 months. You could see it in her face week after week. She stepped down or was demoted. ( not sure ). This happened to another gal as well.
    This happened a lot at that place. I just don’t get why this company would keep hiring people for supervisory position they are clearly not qualified for.
    I question the company, HR and higher management’s ability to hire the right people more than I question the person that failed. They just want the job. It is the hiring people that are suppose to do it right…. operative word’s… suppose to…

  5. Playing devil’s advocate for just a moment, I want to defend the letter writer’s feelings of annoyance and invalidation.

    This person is a high performer, with a record reflecting that, who is now being overlooked for a management position that went to someone whom he/she considers less experienced. While this may not be the most productive way to see the situation, I find great fault with management for neglecting to discuss the situation with the well-known performer.

    Frankly, the new boss’ boss should talk with the letter writer, validate his/her work and provide assurance that he/she is a valued member of the team who is respected and held in high esteem. This will go a very LONG WAY toward making the transition to new leadership smoother and retaining the praised employee.

    It’s also worth noting that people with advanced skill sets and solid evaluations can still leave what they perceive to be bad jobs, even in a sluggish market. If the letter writer truly believes that he/she is being ignored, disrespected and is being denied sufficient opportunities for upward mobility in the company, then I would suggest putting those years of experience on an updated version of his/her resume and applying for either management jobs or those that will likely lead to management positions.

    Again, I know I’m in the minority with this posting.

  6. Far too often the person who could manage a team/has fantastic management skills is overlooked for someone who is either totally unsuitable or a psychopath!

    A leadership position should never go to someone who has the longest tenure, it should go to the person who can lead the team and inspire them every day. (if only more managers were like this!).

    I wanted to be a a manager so completed a management degree – what I learned was invaluable and like a previous poster said – made me realise that I’m not ready for it yet!

    Being a leader dosn’t entail any position/title/perks/money – it’s how someone acts every day!

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