Is My Boss Blocking My Career Advancement?

I’ve never been one for conspiracy theories but this one may ring true for some of you. Yes, it is possible your boss is actually the one standing in the way of you getting that promotion you deserve.

There are many reasons a boss might do this. But more importantly, here are a few ways you can fight back.

  1. Stay calm

Acting defensively or accusatory won’t get you very far. If your boss as blocked your promotion without discussing it with you, you have a reason to feel upset. But acting upset will only make the situation worse. Stay professional and try not to jump to conclusions.

  1. Ask questions

Whether you meet with your HR representative or your boss directly, ask all of the questions that you don’t know the answer to. Included in this should be “how can I improve my performance so that I can be considered for the position?” Taking that approach might get your questions answered while you still appear to be curious and determined. This is the best approach for long-term success.

  1. Dig a little deeper

If your questions are being answered vaguely, it’s okay to probe a little more. If you were told you didn’t get the job because someone else had more experience or a stronger skill set, ask for specifics on what kind of skills you’ll need to acquire before the next opportunity.

  1. Take action

If you were given specifics on skill sets and experience that you are, in fact, missing, make an action plan to acquire them. Attend any training sessions that may be available or seek office mentors that you may be able to learn from.

  1. Consider timing

Does a current project depend on you? Perhaps your boss can’t run the risk of losing such an important part of the team at such a volatile time. If you think this may be the case, have a one-on-one with your boss and ask him or her for a time frame that would be more appropriate for your potential promotion.

  1. Stay calm (still)

If you’ve done all you can do and it still seems your boss is blocking your promotion, it may very well be for selfish reasons on their behalf. As always, it’s important you remain calm. This would be a great opportunity to make an appointment with your HR representative and explain everything you’ve done; acquiring new skill sets, attending trainings, even setting up your future replacement for success. If they notice the patterns and realize things don’t add up, this may be when they intervene. If not, it may be time for you to look outside the company.

It can be a frustrating experience to be shut down for a deserved promotion by someone you thought was in your corner. But take the calm and logical steps to getting it sorted out and you may very well find your success.


Do you need help increasing job visibility or prioritizing your career goals? My executive coaching services can help you hone your communication skills and clearly define your goals and objectives.

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