How to Gracefully Decline a Promotion

How can you decline a promotion without making things awkward? In this article, the author shares advice from two experts on how to navigate this complicated situation. First, explore the underlying reasons behind your hesitation. If you are 100% sure you don’t want the promotion, decline as swiftly as possible. Be tactful and tactical. While there’s no need to provide an exhaustive account of your decision, framing it strategically is important. You could also consider taking the promotion, but with clearly defined boundaries. You could ask about adjustments like managing fewer direct reports or increased flexibility if the promotion requires a greater in-office presence. Or you could propose something new altogether. Climbing the corporate ladder may be the conventional route, but it’s not necessarily the best choice for every situation — especially if the promotion on the table doesn’t match with where you want your career to go or isn’t right for your current circumstances.

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