We have a small engineering team; We'd like to promote someone to a new position, but while doing so another person (who started with us either at the same time or earlier) could feel left behind - the question is what do we do in those cases? Should we try to chat to them before? Should we offer something? We don't want to hold someone off from being promoted only because the other person does not have the same drive or abilities..

522 views2 Upvotes8 Comments

Director in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees
Success is competitive….. not everyone gets a trophy
When you announce the promotion I would recommend mentioning the objective and concrete successes that led to the promotion
Then If anyone wants to discuss what it takes to earn a promotion you can have an objective performance discussion
1 1 Reply
Director in Manufacturing, 1,001 - 5,000 employees

A manager should always be ready to discuss promotions with any direct report. And know they are being objective with the employees performance rating

CTO in Software, 201 - 500 employees
Well, if you want a high-performance culture in your organization, you need to reward high-performance. To ensure buy-in and to avoid disenfranchisement you need to set clear goals, identify desired behaviors, and then provide consistent and regular feedback
CEO in Services (non-Government), 201 - 500 employees
I think the best approach to team building, career development opportunities are understood by most. As long as promotions are based on merits. Everyone has been offer fairness, regarding forward progress. Promotions are something team members must earn, not just given.
Director of IT in Software, 201 - 500 employees
Instead of direct promotion where you offer the position to the person in question, have you consider to post the posting as a new opening and encourage everyone to apply for it, so then you do proper interviews. The person you are worried about being skipped might not even apply so then your problem is solved. If he/she applies you the opportunity during the interview process to show him/her that they are not the right person for it. You can lay down the expectations of the position, the characteristics needed etc and they will realized its not for them. Even if they don’t publicly acknowledge it, they will know themselves and will likely be less resistant to having the other candidate being promoted.
Founder, CTO in Software, 51 - 200 employees
This question is very interesting indeed and I have had a few occasions to deal with it.
To be concise, there is no reason to prevent someone to achieve their goal and deserved promotion because of some jealousy and even competition in the team.

First, we need to be very clear about the responsibilities of the new job and what we expect from the person who get the promotion. During 1to1s and other meetings you need to explain to other possible candidates what you need from them and what they may need to bring to the table to be considered. It can even be a motivational discussion you will have with them to encourage one to study and practice required competencies before postulating to the job.

Most of the time it should be a natural selection and every member of the team should agree on your choice after thorough and sufficient explanation. You should be very fair and don’t let emotions take part of your decision. You don’t need to over explain either. After all you are the manager and know better what is needed to get the job done.

However, you can not prevent ego and jealousy of a few, even after all the explanations and rationals. As a manager you should not hesitate and show your support to the team and the one who get the job and stay put. 

In one occasion we had to reassign a team member who didn’t get the position to another team to remove the tension, but in a few other occasions it went well without much discussion.
CIO in Education, 201 - 500 employees
Someone getting promoted should be celebrated for that accomplishment. I assume that the person/people not promoted were less ready for that position. Talk with them after should they request or - if you’re not already - start a routine communication and help them get where they want to go. Performance and talent management should be a consistent conversation.
CEO in Services (non-Government), 201 - 500 employees
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