Help desk: Pipped to the plum job? Play the political card

Dear Help Desk

I have been with my current employer for two years, during which time I worked extremely hard to further my career through sheer determination and dedication and have produced the highest results of the departmental team. My colleague, who happens to be a very good friend of the director, is never on time, spends most of the day chatting to friends, brings in very few results and has just been given the new Group Head job, meaning she will now become my boss. I feel I should let my feelings be known but do not know how to go about it. What should I do?

Andy Blake, Bristol

Virginia Ironside, The Independent's Agony Aunt says:

I would keep my mouth shut. If you start complaining it will only look as if you're jealous and no one will believe you anyway. Your complaints will look like acts of spite. I'd just let your colleague hang herself by her own rope. Who knows, she might become more responsible now she's got a better job, or if she's inefficient, her hopelessness is bound to be spotted by others eventually..

Paul Roscorla, occupational psychologist of Acker Deboeck & Company says:

Learn a hard but valuable lesson! You can raise how you feel but it is unlikely to make any positive difference, and if you do so too strongly you risk being branded as difficult. In addition, while your feelings are understandable, you may not know all the facts. Organisations are political places, and the impression you create, and the people who know you, are as important as what you do. Remember as well that people are paid to do their jobs well but this does not mean they are seen as automatic candidates for promotion. You might ask, given your performance, what you need to do to become considered for promotion. Also examine whether you are keeping your head down at the expense of building your network of friends and supporters. "Hiding your light under a bushel" comes to mind.

Stephen Burke, MD of ROC Recruitment says:

It is always difficult when you are diligent and dedicated to no avail, especially when it seems to be favouritism rather than merit which determines reward or promotion. If you feel strongly about the situation you could seek to discuss the matter with your Human Resources Department, outlining the circumstances and letting them know of your frustrations. Prior to this you should make it perfectly clear in your own mind what your position is and exactly what you hope to achieve by taking the matter further. It would be inadvisable to present a case which could be construed as sour grapes or as being based on envy as this may serve to destroy all the good work you have produced so far. If your colleague is as bad as you say, a more high profile and visible position could be her undoing and you may in time end up with the promotion you seek. In any event it is always worth asking the management if you were considered for the job and why did you not get it. In addition to clarifying the situation for you, this will also serve to make them aware of your ambition and willingness to accept more responsibility.

Susan Bloch of GHN Executive Coaching says:

You have obviously developed a very successful set of task and process skills to produce the highest results; however, working hard to achieve these objectives may mean that you have not given sufficient time to think about the impression you are making on others. Political skills are essential at work.

Arrange to meet with the director and find out why you were passed over. You may share your feelings of disappointment but don't allow yourself to become defensive and critical. What is more important is that you learn what competencies and skills are required in the Group Head role and what you need to do to be eligible for an upward move. Develop a keen awareness of how your behaviour is affecting others and gauge whether you inspire trust and confidence.

Most important, don't become a "whinger", stay positive. Do share your ambition to move onwards (as appropriate). Without political astuteness it is easy to shoot yourself in the foot.

Arts and Entertainment
Blackman: Landscape of children’s literature does not reflect the cultural diversity of young people
booksMalorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
'Eminem's recovery from substance abuse has made him a more potent performer, with physical charisma and energy he never had before'
musicReview: Wembley Stadium ***
Arts and Entertainment
‘Dawn of Planet of the Apes’ also looks set for success in the Chinese market

film
News
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight

tv
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face

books
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from How To Train Your Dragon 2

Review: Imaginative storytelling returns with vigour

film
Arts and Entertainment
Josh Hutcherson, Donald Sutherland and Jena Malone in Mockinjay: Part 1

film
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Characters in the new series are based on real people, say its creators, unlike Arya and Clegane the Dog in ‘Game of Thrones’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
A waxwork of Jane Austen has been unveiled at The Jane Austen Centre in Bath

books
Arts and Entertainment
Britney Spears has been caught singing without Auto-Tune

music
Arts and Entertainment
Unless films such as Guardians of the Galaxy, pictured, can buck the trend, this summer could be the first in 13 years that not a single Hollywood blockbuster takes $300m

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Miley Cyrus has her magic LSD brain stolen in this crazy video produced with The Flaming Lips

music
Arts and Entertainment
Gay icons: Sesame Street's Bert (right) and Ernie

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton

music
Arts and Entertainment
The new film will be shot in the same studios as the Harry Potter films

books
Arts and Entertainment
Duncan Bannatyne left school at 15 and was still penniless at 29

Bannatyne leaves Dragon's Den

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The French economist Thomas Piketty wrote that global inequality has worsened

books
Arts and Entertainment
David Tennant and Benedict Cumberbatch

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Affleck plays a despondent Nick Dunne in David Fincher's 'Gone Girl'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty (L) and Carl Barât look at the scene as people begin to be crushed

music
Arts and Entertainment

tv
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

    How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

    A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
    The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

    The evolution of Andy Serkis

    First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

    You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

    Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
    Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

    Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

    Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Children's books are too white, says Laureate

    Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
    Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

    Blackest is the new black

    Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

    The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
    Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

    Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

    From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
    Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

    Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

    When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
    Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

    Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

    The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
    Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

    Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

    The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

    Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

    Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

    Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

    The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
    The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

    The Open 2014

    Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?