One of the struggles employers face is selecting the best people for leadership roles. So why do some flourish while others fail miserably? Who should you promote? And how do you tell those loyal employees who are not selected the hurtful news? Finally, what happens if you choose wrong? A lot of questions here, but making the correct or incorrect choices has a broad impact.
We are our decisions. Our lives are where they are because of our choices. Hiring or promoting the wrong people in the wrong roles is a disaster waiting to happen. Further, repeating poor decisions could very well prevent your very own promotional goals.
But, there are many more casualties than you in choosing wrong. The employee who is not suited for the job will probably fail and fail miserably. The team who must work with the employee will also suffer. As a result, your company is losing production and, even worse, customers. Further, if this is an internal promotion, you lost a great employee who excelled in his previous role. A loss all the way around.
How can you make better choices? Please don’t select leaders because someone is great at what they do! They may seem to be the superhero that can save the day. Based on my years of experience, that is the biggest mistake executives make. Of course, success should play a role in your decision; success is success, right? However, success based on what?
Here is an example. An employee who is a reliable worker gets along with others, is loyal, and is highly skilled in the tasks needed for her current role. That is valuable. Because of this, the employee may feel deserving of a leadership role. You might feel obligated. Yet, she has not shown skills in leading others. In addition, she may not truly understand what the position entails. Worker skills, along with a nice title and increased pay, don’t make a leader and should not be an employee’s motivation for promotion.
How do you solve this? One way is to ensure that employees interested in leadership understand every detail of the role. For example, how will they be evaluated? They must be clear that their success will no longer be determined by what they do but rather by how their team performs. Can she hold people accountable, even when it is a friend? Can she problem solve when faced with difficulties? Can she inspire? Is she capable of the administration piece and so on? Knowing a job and leading a team requires many different skills.
Start before an opening exists. Take the time to allow employees to understand possible roles and their responsibilities before they apply for a promotion. An internal growth program will enable employees to see what is involved and better understand what that means. It can be a full-blown growth and development program or something smaller but help your employees better understand what a role includes. You might prevent a lot of pain for many.
I know this sounds like the time you don’t have, but how much time and expense will it take to replace that person when it does not work out? Also, what impact does such a loss have throughout the organization?
So what if she can’t be a leader? How do you tell her? How will she feel? Possibly, she will feel that she is not good enough. Or that you have no loyalty to her after all she has done. She is humiliated and now a danger to her morale, and possibly the morale of your entire team.
Lastly, be sure that every person, in every position, is clear on the immense value of their role. And I mean their importance to your company, the others on the team, and the end product. They are all critical, or the position would be obsolete.
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