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Scared of promotion? What if you don’t want to be a manager

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Work can be very stressful, we all know that. At the same time we all want to be successful, but what happens if your idea of success doesn’t match the expectations of your employer or even your close ones? The first step to figure out your next move is to understand the true reasons why the prospect of a promotion or becoming a manager doesn’t lay close to your heart.

There are many different reasons why a person may feel overwhelmed by the idea of a promotion and resist becoming a manager. But generally, they all come down to a few main aspects of why taking on a new position might not be as appealing as it sounds. In this article we will aim to help you breakdown your thoughts and figure out a way to move forward with your decision regarding the professional path you truly want to take.

You are afraid of failure at work

One of the main worries when it comes to a promotion or starting a new position for many of us, is that feeling of uncertainty and fear of failure. First and foremost, you have to realize that everyone is afraid of making a mistake. Remember when you started working for the first time? I’m sure you were terrified of failing, looking silly, and making stupid mistakes. We all did. And we all still do. The solution for this is to go ahead and learn. Overtime, everything becomes a habit and the fear will disappear.


If you were offered a promotion, your fear is not a good enough reason to turn it down. Simply the fact that you were offered a new role without having to fight for it, already means that you have all the skills and abilities needed for that position. Most employees are waiting for a promotion for many years and keep failing to negotiate one. In too many cases, upper management prefers to find a new person over promoting their existing employees. Just think about it. How many times did your friends complain of being underappreciated at work and not given a promotion they deserve? So if you are the lucky one to be offered a promotion without asking – take it. First of all, as we said before, you already have 90% of what’s needed. And secondly, your success will become a personal mission of the person who put you up for that promotion. So for the 10% that’s left you will receive some help, whether you will ask for it or not. So just take a deep breath and say yes!

You don’t want additional responsibilities

This reason is a tricky one. Particularly, because it can be one of the best and the worst reasons. Step one here would be to understand on which side of it you find yourself.

The concerning aspect of this reason is when you simply don’t want additional responsibilities. Full stop. This might mean that you are stagnated at what you do. The feeling of comfort and lack of passion for growth will not bring you to success. At the moment, you think that this is the perfect place for you to be, but in reality, complete comfort might mean a lack of struggles and challenges that over-time will lead to total boredom. Boredom, with the lack of self-improvement, will result in a loss of your professional efficiency and performance that will not stay unnoticed by your managers in the long term. Any business needs employees that want to grow since this is the only way to succeed. No manager wants his or her employees to simply be comfortable. They do want you to be happy, but comfort is the goal of your couch, not your boss.

Take on a new role and push yourself out of your comfort zone, it will pay off. Otherwise, maybe it is time to consider changing your company or your occupation. Maybe your lack of passion for the promotion is as simple as a lack of passion for your job.


Additional responsibly might take a toll on your life

On the flip side of the responsibility coin, is a rational realization that it might hurt your professional performance, personal life, or mental health. If you know that the new role will require long hours, an enormous amount of stress, regular travelling, or relocation whilst you have a newborn, three kids, a relative to care about, or maybe a predisposition for a nervous breakdown, you have a full right to turn it down.

But before you do it, speak to your employer, it is possible that there will be a way to adjust the new role to better fit your life and find a great alternative that will satisfy both you and your manager.  

You don’t want to change your position

You love what you do and do not want to trade it for piles of reports and yelling at your beloved colleagues. No one knows us better than ourselves, and you should not feel intimidated by someone else’s idea of professional success.

If you love what you do, and since you were offered a promotion, you are clearly great at what you do, then keep doing it. Just don’t be arrogant about it. The fact that you were offered a new position, means that your company or your employer needs help. So before you turn down the offer, attempt to figure out a way to step it up whilst continuing your favorite job. Maybe you need a partner to take over business bureaucracy, or to keep someone more social by your side to communicate your ideas through to your team. Coming up with an alternative solution can not only help you keep your favorite occupation but will also show care and additional value that you bring to your company.

How to turn down a promotion

Remember, there is nothing wrong about the fact that you don’t want to become a manager or take on a promotion. What’s important is to communicate it through to your employer correctly. Don’t just say no. Aim to outline the situation how it is, and keep your explanation positive. If you can, offer some alternatives on how you can take on some new responsibilities without completely altering your role.

Don’t torture yourself with negative thoughts regarding your rejection. If you were offered a promotion, you are a valued team member, so your tactic should be to showcase your care for the company and explain valid reasons for not willing to take on the promotion. Your professionalism and honesty will not be punished. Keep up the great work, and make sure to talk to your manager once you are ready!

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Albert, as Editor-in-Chief of, emphasizes practical and real-world business insights, covering growth strategies and marketing innovations. His expertise shines through in the site's content, which blends thorough analysis with actionable advice, establishing as a go-to source for professionals and enthusiasts.

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