Promotions, Privileges, and Temptations

Each new promotion we achieve in our careers presents new opportunities to grow and impact others. It also presents new levels of temptation.

What are the temptations that grow with promotions?

  • Taking long lunches or not eating in the common employee break room areas anymore
  • Routinely arriving to work a few minutes late or cutting out a few minutes early
  • Running personal errands on company time or having a direct report do personal work
    for you
  • Taking credit for the team’s performance
  • Changing bonus structures with your employees to save money
  • Allowing special preferential treatment for favored employees
  • Ignoring others’ input or concerns
  • Choosing to side with what’s popular rather than what’s right
  • Cutting corners with your clients to save money
  • Making decisions that benefit you over your team
  • Using company funds for personal expenses
  • Becoming a high maintenance leader
  • Cutting back on customer services or employee benefits to make budget
  • Ignoring others’ unethical decisions
  • Feeling more important than others

Author and speaker Joyce Meyer, when speaking about her faith, says that “a new level means a new devil.” The same can be said of our leadership walk. So, how can we keep from succumbing to the temptation of taking privileges as our careers grow?

  • Set your standards now and don’t waiver. Remember who you are on the inside and check yourself as you grow. Our standards shouldn’t change based on our position within a company or on the career ladder. Know what you stand for and where you draw the line before you’re faced with the temptation to take privileges or bend the rules.
  • Focus on being a steward. If you’ve followed this blog for long, you know that my stance is that as our influence grows, so do the sacrifices we should be willing to make. Our privileges should actually be fewer as our careers advance.
  • Pray for wisdom and preparation. If you’re a person of faith, pray for God to prepare you for your career growth by preparing the path ahead of you and giving you the wisdom to avoid the temptation of taking privileges.

Reflection Questions

Are you wanting to get a promotion or have you recently been promoted?

Are you ready to play defense against the temptations that come along with that promotion?

Are you willing to make the sacrifices necessary to lead your team?

Remember, promotions don’t come without temptations, so as you plan your career, grow your steadiness and your standards so that you can overcome the temptations that accompany the promotions you will receive in your life.


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  • Rhonda says:

    “With great power comes great responsibility.” -Spiderman

    This is something I should have been told 18 years ago in start-up training class. I have lost more great employees because of promotion temptation than any other reason. I promote the best desk operator to office manager because they open early, go the extra mile to provide outstanding customer service, work late without being asked, lead the team by example and then… I am the manager now. I work 24/7, just call me anytime and I will answer my cell phone from anywhere and be there for you! BUT they are never there anymore! The staff no longer has an example to follow. The staff no longer feels they are on a team. The customer has to leave a message and wait for a return call. UGH!!! This is article is right on the money! Literally, BE SURE TO DISCUSS this stuff with every promotion in order to keep your people and not have to re-hire and re-train again!

    • Linda Sasser says:

      Rhonda I can feel your frustration coming through the lines! Thank you so much for sharing. You’re right it is very frustrating. It might be a neat exercise that with every promotion discussion there is a worksheet that is filled out that goes over temptations. Have them list them out and they the leader can list out. That way we’re proactive on the subject and we can discuss how to handle when the temptations come.

      Thanks for your comments Rhonda! Love them and I LOVE THE SPIDER MAN QUOTE!!!