Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Two Tips to Avoid Promotions That Fail

“I just promoted my top performer into a leadership position, and they are failing!” 

We are sure you have heard the story about the top performer who gets promoted and becomes a miserable and unsuccessful manager. Do you wish you could know in advance if it was going to happen? Of course, because doing something after the promotion is difficult for everyone concerned. What might you want to look for before the promotion that will give you a good indication of success? Keep reading for the answer.

There are many sophisticated ways to measure leadership potential.  Some of these include batteries of personality, temperament and ability tests, along with “assessment centers” where the person is given a slice of what the real job looks like and observed to see how well they handle the challenges.

These have their place, but most organizations promote from their most talented, top specialist or expert performer and hope they develop leadership skills like they developed their other expertise—on the job.

It is correct that top performers are due more than fair consideration for promotion, but what else do you need to look for to maximize their chances of success? Demonstrating trust and teamwork…doing what you should and knowing how to help others.  

Background: Read the four stages of a professional’s contribution to an organization.

Koliso often develops teams and leaders. We make it simple for the organization to see what the person (or team) needs before they should be put into a position of leadership. We focus our work on helping improve Stage 3 and Stage 4 leaders.

In simple terms you can summarize what drives individuals at each stage of their development as:

“What should I do?” The Learner/Helper: Stage 1  
“How can I help?” The Specialist/Expert: Stage 2 
“We can be better.” The Leader/Manager: Stage 3 
“This is how we can succeed!” The Leader/Strategist/Visionary: Stage 4 

Before anyone can be a good leader they need to be good contributors at stages 1 and 2. Let’s face it: professionals need to be good helpers and good experts.  

Before considering them for a leadership position they should be able to demonstrate that in addition to being good at their job they can be trusted to do their job and work well with others.

Measure leadership candidates doing four things:
1. CAN DO: Show competence that they can do what they say
2. WILL DO: Show reliability that they will do what they say
3. BE OPEN: Show that they are open so we see what they do
4. BE PRINCIPLED: Show that they are principled and they do what they should

Analyze leadership candidates to see if they demonstrate:
1. Empathy for other people’s situations and feelings
2. Service orientation toward making things better

Top performers that become successful leaders demonstrate trust and teamwork—doing what they should and knowing how to help others.  These fundamental building blocks are what your people need to show before you can promote them into manager and leadership roles. Without demonstrating these abilities, top performers are better off remaining specialists and experts.

Need Help? Have you appointed top performers who missed success at the next level? We can help.

Would you like to continue this discussion? Contact Koliso

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