A colleague and I both went for a promotion to team leader and I got it. I am looking for advice on how to handle the awkwardness of him not obtaining the promotion and me being in a position of authority over him now.

I feel it is necessary to at least very briefly talk about it or acknowledge this situation in some way but I do not want to generate more awkwardness or rub my promotion in his face.

I do not expect that anything I will do or say will turn this into a happy situation for him but I would like to make the best of it.

  • 4
    Hi! Welcome to Interpersonal Skills! Does your colleague know that you got selected? Did you talk about it with him/her yet? You want to dispel the awkwardness, but has he/she shown any sign of it? Like talking strangely etc? Can you please add the country/culture as it can help providing a better answer?
    – A J
    Jul 7, 2018 at 13:13
  • This is in Canada. My colleague doesnt know about it yet but will know soon. I do not know his reaction yet and will not for a little while as Im currently out of office.
    – ApplePie
    Jul 7, 2018 at 13:22
  • 2
    This question is indeed on-topic here, but you might also be able to find some helpful guidance by asking on Workplace.SE.
    – V2Blast
    Jul 9, 2018 at 2:07

2 Answers 2


You colleague has no choice - he has to make the best of it, or else move on. So if you think about it, they have to get along with you. Where you have a rare opportunity is to be completely fair in your actions. Do not treat them any differently to others who you may be in charge of. Do not go easy on them either. In return they will be relieved and surprised and you will be able to get on. The answer is in your hands, your actions will determine the road ahead. You got the job - now carry it out in an honest and fair manner.


General advice, for your own sake, is to

Proceed as planned until proven otherwise

There is no need to change your behavior if nothing changed except that you got promoted. For starters, you might not even know the whole story: maybe they got a salary bump or negotiated something else. Maybe they didn't want the job at all.

Try to concentrate on your job and being good at it. If they decide to bring it up, say "Thank you" and move on.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.