NEW YORK, (October 22, 2020) – Signe Pihlstrand, SanovaWorks Vice President
One of the biggest mistakes companies can make is to promote someone to manager or leader simply because they are good at their job. Equating solid job skills in one position to success in a different position doesn’t always result in success. It’s wonderful when someone is good at their job. You have this employee, they get the job done, they are reliable, others like working with them. A management spot opens up, and you want to give it to them – could be for many different reasons which I will discuss below – but please, think twice. All of this does not mean that they will thrive this same way in another role with greater or different responsibilities.
This is a lesson that we have had to learn over the years, as we grow and create more management positions. Everyone is not cut out to be a manager or a leader. Some people are meant to be great employees, great team members, great workers. (And there’s nothing wrong with that.) With our emphasis on development – everyone’s one-on-ones with their managers each week are called “Development Meetings” – we foster leadership qualities in all of our employees, regardless of role. We are always on the lookout for those who display a capacity for leadership. We build on these skills, developing our future leaders, and understanding our employee’s abilities and ambitions.
A manager is a critical position in any company. It is not something to be taken lightly, and many companies find themselves with major problems because they did just that – took it too lightly and promoted someone for the wrong reasons. Managers make crucial decisions that impact many aspects of a company, and the trickle-down of poor decisions affect so many things, progress, morale, and bottom lines. Bad managers affect interdepartmental relations, and employee growth and performance. So why do companies fall into this trap?
See if any of these sound familiar to you, or resemble a not-so-great promotion decision you’ve made:
- An employee has been in the same position for a long time. They are dependable, have a strong work ethic, and it’s time for them to move up to management (and you want to do something nice for them).
- A great employee has specific career and salary goals, and you want to keep them in your company (but they don’t always work smoothly with others, and can be a bit too competitive, but, you’re sure you can make it work).
- A manager leaves a department, and an employee is the only one that understands everything about the department, and they do a pretty good job and are smart. It seems like the logical thing to do (and easiest).
- You promote hiring from within as a practice your company follows. There’s an employee who is dependable and that you like (and it will look good, and will be good for morale).
If any of these decisions are backed with the knowledge that the employee has shown impressive management traits – empathy, amazing communication skills, ability to inspire teammates, strong concern with what is best for the company, not necessarily themselves – then you’ve got a great shot. Just be honest with yourself when making the decision, and don’t be swayed by the wrong reasons. And remember, anyone who will be an adept manager, is already a great leader – no matter their current title.
Has your company promoted for the wrong reasons? What has the fallout been? Do you have specific criteria in place for all management positions?
Promoting someone into a higher position because they’re good at what they did in their prior position, or they have been in the role for a long time, is often the wrong reason. Management roles require an entirely different skill set than other roles. Not everyone is cut out to be a manager. It takes a particular kind of person to successfully manage people, a combination of traits and skills that you must identify in someone before making the big move of promoting them. Be sure to promote for the right reasons, with a lot of time and thought put into the decision, for your company’s sake.
All the best,