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I might lose a promotion because my coworkers are threatened by my productivity

Today we’re talking about coworkers holding you back from a promotion.

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I like my job. I want to get ahead and I work hard and fast.

This irritates two of my coworkers. When I pass their desks, I overhear them make comments like, “Don’t get in the way of the speed demon.” I don’t understand why they resent the fact that I work fast. I’m not doing it to make them look bad. I pretend I don’t hear their comments.

Although I’m the youngest in the department, I thought doing a good job would be my route to a promotion to team lead. Two months ago, my supervisor told me that I was a front runner for the next opportunity since our current team lead is planning to move out of state in two months.

This morning, I heard through the grapevine that my supervisor is uneasy about promoting me because these coworkers dislike me, and team leads have to have good relationships with coworkers. I plan to go talk to my supervisor about this. What should I say?

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If you go to your supervisor with this issue as a problem, you present him with an unresolved problem. If you instead try to first solve it or come to him with a potential solution, you increase your chances of gaining the promotion you seek.

Start by learning what you’re up against. Do you irritate your coworkers with your speed or do they snipe at you because they dislike you for another reason? Do you threaten them with your youth or brains? Could part of the problem be you act superior because you speed through projects and thus infuriate coworkers who work more slowly?

In short, you need more information which these two coworkers possess. The next time you hear a comment, stop dead in your tracks and say, “OK, what am I doing that irritates you? Just tell me, so I can fix it.”

The good news, you have a month to figure this out as your current team lead is in place for the next two months. Also, you’re learning two valuable lessons. First, while pretending to not hear comments works temporarily, it doesn’t resolve anything. Second, it takes good relationships with coworkers as well as hard work to get ahead.

Finally, if you try to diplomatically figure out and resolve this problem, when you present the situation to your supervisor, he may realize the problem isn’t with you, and it lies with your coworkers – and thus it is his issue to solve.

© 2016, Lynne Curry. If you have a career questions you’d like Lynne to answer, write her @ Lynne is an executive coach and author of Beating the Workplace Bully, AMACOM & Solutions. You can follow Lynne through her other posts on, via,™ or @lynnecurry10 on Twitter.

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