When to Say No to a Promotion

A promotion is a defining moment in every professional’s life, invoking feelings of genuine joy. However it can also bring mixed emotions such as anxiety and risk.

Risk-taking is a positive tool for success. New positions drive people out of their comfort zones. Nevertheless sometimes being promoted may not be the ideal thing.

Before you get swept off your feet, ask yourself a few key questions:

1. Does it light your fire? If your new role affects your passion, think twice about it. Make sure that the expectations are clear, so that there are no ambiguities about your future role. Picture you future and evaluate if this promotion is one step towards it.

2. Does it suit your lifestyle? Sometimes promotions come with a price such as relocation, extra hours, extensive traveling, etc. People have obligations; aging parents, new born babies, under age siblings, etc. If the promotion comes with expectations that you know you cannot meet don’t sign the deal.

3. Is there a job fit? Acknowledging poor job fit does not mean you have a defeatist mindset. It simply means you are not ready yet. Talk to your Manager about his, do your own SWOT analysis, write your development plan and get your boss’s input as well.

4. Who’s your boss? Find out what kind of person your new boss is. Flexibility is a good thing but if you can predict a personality clash coming your way, quietly say no.

If you decide to decline a promotion, plan on how to say it in a way that your strategic intent is not confused with lack of ability or people skills. Put the right message across in a way that will go in your favor and would also benefit the organization.