Even if you’re working at a world-class company, you won’t always get your way.
You might be overlooked for a promotion. Perhaps you won’t get adequate recognition for a job well done. Even in a staff-meeting, your thoughtful recommendation might be ignored.
Everyone suffers disappointment at work from time to time. Sure, you can feel badly for a moment, but keep it to yourself and show maturity.
Your feelings might be hurt, but don’t let it show or you risk giving away your power.
Don’t give away your power. You give away your power if you let others see that you pity yourself. Your challenge is to handle your frustration so that it doesn’t adversely impact your future.
When you handle disenchantment well, it demonstrates to your boss, peers or employees that you’re a class act.
By not panicking or showing disappointment, it clearly shows you’re a strong, valuable employee. It lays a foundation that shows how laudable you are and that you’re ready for whatever happens next.
So, don’t let disappointment define you.
If, for example, you lose your bid for a promotion and someone else is hired, handle it professionally.
Talk with a mentor
You don’t have to be alone in making career decisions – if you don’t have one already, get a mentor – someone who has successfully handled the types of challenges you face.
Successful people are focused. Whenever you have a challenge – good or bad – it’s best to talk with a mentor.
Learn how to respond to adversity – how to respond, not react. Think about what to say before you say it. Think about what to do before you do it.
A mentor is the person you can use to discuss your anger or frustration. Get it out of your system.
A great mentor will listen and might even laugh at your situation. I’ve had great mentors and they shared common traits – they were very wise and analytical, and they each had a good sense of humor.
Early in my career, my first mentor used to laugh at my soap operas and then give me the positive feedback I needed to hear.
Once, when I was upset at being laid-off, he laughed and then admonished me: “No matter what, there are no big deals. No matter what.” He was a fabulous mentor who was a nationally known expert but always took the time to listen and advise me.
A few years later, I acquired a new mentor, a CEO. When I had achieved all I could, he gave me surprising counsel – he inspired me to think about becoming my own boss. He thought my next opportunity for career growth was to become an entrepreneur. He turned out to be right.
So, a great mentor is priceless. A great mentor has probably experienced lots of disappointment, made lots of mistakes and learned from them, and has learned to get a good perspective for personal and professional growth.
The person won’t be laughing at you but will help you to see that it’s not a big deal so you can profit from the situation.
A mentor will guide you through the process of handling defeat in a positive way and who will help you to be successful.
Take the high road
After talking with your mentor, take the right action.
Instead of whining or implying the company made the wrong decision, ask to meet with your boss. Don’t put your boss on the defensive by criticizing the decision and don’t malign the coworker who got the job.
If you do, you’ll be branding yourself as a toxic employee.
Instead, when you sit down with your supervisor, ask what steps you can take for self-improvement.
You’ll be branding yourself as a quality person and are capable of handling adversity well.
From the Coach’s Corner, here are related tips:
Responding to Criticism Requires Professionalism – Anger as a first reaction is not OK. No one likes being criticized. It’s difficult to hear and it’s understandable why many people make the mistake of being defensive. If you get negative feedback, it’s in your best interest to remain calm and receptive. It’s actually your responsibility – to yourself and the organization.
Your Career: Fair Is Not an Adult Word at the Office – If you think your co-workers will be as thoughtful as your friends in your personal life, you might want to think again. And if you’re a highly productive employee but you’ve been laid off after several years of service, you’ve experienced the same phenomenon. That stems from a lack of reciprocity and fairness among adults at work.
3 Best Interview Strategies for a Promotion in Your Company – So your company has an opening that would mean a promotion for you. Great. But make sure you prepare properly to avoid disappointment.
Leadership: The Best 11 Steps to Become a Leader – Whether you aspire to become a leader or want to get better at leading people, it’s certainly a huge job. Here’s how to lay a foundation to become an effective leader.
Having Trouble Seeing Your Way through the Glass Ceiling? 5 Tips – If you’re having trouble seeing through the glass ceiling, you probably need a change in strategies. There can be several reasons for your struggle. Here are the solutions.
“Fair is not an adult word.”
-Mac Eadie (a beloved mentor of mine)