Friday, July 29, 2011

Declining a Promotion Gracefully

You’ve been working diligently and your manager and others at work have taken notice; as a result, you’re being offered a promotion. There’s just one problem: you wish to stay in your current position and want to decline the promotion. The challenge is how to decline gracefully without jeopardizing your reputation with your boss and management. You also don’t want to negatively affect future career opportunities within the organization or leave others with the impression that you’re disloyal, not a team player, or that you lack ambition.

It is perfectly acceptable to turn down a promotion, but the goal is to do so professionally and tactfully. The following advice can help.

  • Consider your manager’s perspective and why you were chosen for the promotion. Doing so can help you make a decision and frame a response that includes alternative solutions, like picking up extra responsibilities or recommending someone else.
  • Carefully weigh the pros and cons to the promotion before making a final decision. For example, if a promotion means undesirable hours but the alternative is staying in a current position that may be at risk in a projected downsizing, you might want to accept the promotion.
  • Recognize that it is an honor to be considered for a promotion and express your appreciation accordingly.
  • Provide a reasonable explanation for your decision. Maybe you feel you’re more valuable in your current position, in which case, give examples of how you are contributing value. Or, perhaps you’re passionate about your current work and want to continue gaining more experience doing something you love.
  • Share your career goals with your manager; if you have a plan that includes a future promotion, articulate this as well.

By following these tips and factoring in your specific situation, you should be able to decline a promotion in a professional manner—without burning any bridges.

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