Several years ago I was passed over for a promotion I had been expecting and preparing for over the previous few years. My supervisor had made it clear that she intended for me to replace her.
Unfortunately, my response to getting passed over was not helpful and soon after I left the company for a new position. It turned out to be a bad career and personal decision.
So here are three things you can do differently if you are passed over for a job promotion:
1. Allow yourself to feel ... angry, frustrated, sad, and any other emotion you experience. However, only allow yourself to focus on these feelings for a limited period of time, say 48 hours, and then move on. Dwelling on those feelings will have you experiencing bitterness and make it more difficult for you to make a good decision about the future of your work.
2. Ask, listen, and fully understand. Seek out a meeting with the manager who made the decision about the promotion. Do your best to go into the meeting with an attitude of curiosity and a genuine desire to understand why you did not get the promotion. Listen carefully and say very little. Do not attempt to persuade the manager that he or she made a mistake. Do not attempt to defend yourself against any shortcomings the manager identifies. Leave the meeting on good terms with the manager.
3. Humbly apply what you've learned. If the manager provided you with some specific and concrete ways to improve your performance and develop skills to make you more qualified for a promotion develop a plan to meet the objection identified. If you take a serious approach to dealing with any shortcomings identified you will likely find that another opportunity for a promotion will make itself available.
And then you will be ready for it.