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Did you recently get passed up for a big (or not so big) promotion? Did you ask for something at work and were flatly turned down? It happens – to all of us at some point. Things do not always go your way, and rejection is part of life – all aspects of life – both personal and professional. How you handle workplace rejection can serve as the cornerstone for short- and long-term success. It’s time to ‘man-up,’ as they say! Related: 3 Reasons Why The Other Guy (Or Gal) Got The Promotion Of course, nobody wants to be rejected. But if and when it happens, you should take the bull by the horns, as it were, and use the experience and opportunity to pursue other things, learn from the experience, and, of course, try again.


FACT: The Rules In This Game Are Different

You are worthy and can recover from rejection in the workplace. They don’t say ‘it’s just business’ for nothing. The rules of engagement are different in a professional environment than any other. While you might be angry and upset, this is the time to take stock of the situation, evaluate your feelings, and put some perspective around things. Now is the time to review your past performance and identify areas for improvement. You can use this as an OPPORTUNITY instead of feeling sorry for yourself.

It's Over - Move On (But Get Focused First)

Evaluate situations to make measurable improvements. In doing so, you will find there is always an area (and sometimes more than one) that you can change. Maintaining a positive and proactive attitude will allow you to quickly recover, move on, and set new goals. The renewed focus will serve to improve your feelings about the situation and take corrective action. You are your own worst enemy. Make new plans and goals and don’t dwell on situations that cannot be changed. Attitude is more than 90% of ensuring you recover gracefully. The sooner you come to terms with the situation you will be in a better position to make changes to ensure future success. As the saying goes ‘life is not a spectator sport’ and professional growth, or lack thereof also falls into this category. Package up the anger and resentment you might be feeling and toss it out the window. There is a definite sense of liberation when you can come to terms with a situation and move on. Regroup and start anew.

No Excuses! Build Your Next Plan Of Attack

Create your strategic plan; establish your goals and work toward positive improvements that will generate the results you desire the next time. Overall, the decision to move beyond the situation is yours. Your effective (or lack thereof) handling of the matter will set the tone for future performance. You can control your career as well as the ups and downs that come with performance expectations. What to do now?
  • Determine Your Mission
  • Establish Objectives
  • Set Your Course of Action
  • Implement Your Plan
  • Maintain and Enhance Your Skills and Knowledge
Achieve career success! This post was originally published on an earlier date.

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Everyone needs to feel their voice is heard and their contributions are important. Something as simple as sharing a drink the last hour of the day on a Friday with the team to recap wins and give praise can build camaraderie within the team.


All of the above are fairly simple to implement but can make a huge difference in morale and motivation. Have any of these tips worked well for young the past? Do you have other tips to motivate your creative team? If so, please share them with me!

Encourage curiosity. Spark debate. Stimulate creativity and your team will be better at handling challenges with flexibility and resourcefulness. Create a safe space for ideas, all ideas, to be heard. In ideation, we need the weird and off-the-wall ideas to spur us on to push through to the great ideas.

Sure, there are a ton of studies done on this, but here is my very unscientific personal take. When team members can make decisions about how they work on projects, they are more engaged and connected to the project outcome. When they see how potentially dropping the ball would affect the entire team, they step up. When they feel like what they are doing is impactful and valued, they are naturally motivated to learn more, and be even better team members.

Rarely does a one-size-fits-all style work when it comes to team motivation. I have found that aligning employee goals with organization goals works well. Taking time to get to know everyone on your team is invaluable. What parts of their job do they love? What do they not enjoy? What skills do they want to learn? Even going so far as to where they see themselves in five years career-wise. These questions help you right-fit projects, and help your team see you are committed to creating a career path for them within the company.

Most designers I know love a good challenge. We are problem solvers by nature. Consistently give yourself and your team small challenges, both design-related and not. It will promote openness within the team to collaborate, and it will help generate ideas faster in the long run. Whether the challenge is to find a more exciting way to present an idea to stakeholders or fitting a new tool into the budget, make it a challenge just to shake things up.

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