Are you looking for a supervisor or manager? Should you be promoting or hiring? The simple answer is; It depends on who is on staff right now.
If the best reason you can come up to promote someone is their long service or good performance in their current job. You are probably better off hiring from the outside.
Before you promote, you need to consider the impact. Promoting from within as a rule and used as a reward will eventually result in everyone reaching their Highest Level of Incompetence . Performance in a current position gives little indication of performance in another, and it says nothing about leadership abilities.
Plan Early For Success
- Identify Leadership Potential.
Constantly evaluate your employees to find the personality types who are natural leaders. Look at how they approach problems, how others view them. Are they “Go to” people for problem solving. Do they have their peers respect and liking? Are they helping others succeed already? Constantly keep an eye on the employees to see who is moving in that direction naturally.
- Project Management
Once you have found potential candidates for promotion. Give them projects to manage, start simple, and increase the length, scope, and complexity every time they are successful.
Give them plenty of support while doing it, you are a mentor to these people and they will need support. This will groom leadership qualities and you will end up with a promotable employee when the time comes.
If you throw someone into a leadership position without training, you will be paying for their lack of experience as they learn on the job. Or worse – when they fail and damage your company in the process.
Prepare for Hire
If you are unable to find a promotable employee, or maybe you are too small to even have one. Begin early to canvas your surroundings, look at your friends and their friends to find potential future employees able to take on supervisory positions early. You can save a lot of money in head hunters’ fees by starting early and identifying as many candidates as possible. Taking your time also allows you to identify the best person for the job. Not the one that is most fun at parties.
Having a clear policy of hiring the best person – whether that is from the outside or not – is also the best way to reduce agitation among your staff for not getting promoted. When your common policy is to promote from within without question, you automatically place an expectation of this being the norm.
Understand How Your Own Position is changing
- Hand Off
When you grow, and hire workers, supervisors, and managers to take over certain tasks, the most common problem for small business owners is the inability to delegate. It is extremely hard to hand off something that you’ve been doing yourself in the past. You must however be prepared to release the formal power that goes along with a position or you are hog-tying them from the start.
The result is that most will end up micromanaging the organization. This has rarely any benefits and more often causes bad relations with employees. Which inevitably translates to poor performance.
- Why Did You Hire to Begin With?
You are hiring or promoting because you are unable to do the work yourself. This means that if you maintain all the formal power, you are forcing the new managers to wait for you at every turn. Waiting for you to do the job you were too busy to do to being with will only slow down the process further.
Micromanagement of this kind is the most common reason that small business owners are overworked and quickly lose ground when they grow. You have to hire / promote and train the person to do the job. And then trust them to do it.
- Control and Correct
When there is a problem, be certain that you correct it, but do this with the mentality of a mentor, not a drill sergeant. If you have the skills, pass them along so that the problem will not repeat itself. Taking over and doing it yourself will not solve anything in the long run. No one knows everything about their new position, and they certainly do not know exactly how you want it done unless you teach them.
However, just because you’ve always done it one way, doesn’t make it the best way. If you hired or promoted a qualified person, chances are that they will come up with improvements over time. Don’t shut that process down.
Process improvement comes from those that work with the task, rarely their supervisors.
Promoting Practices That Can Kill You
- Promotion is Not A Natural Progression
Just because someone has the longest work history, does not translate to being the best suited to manage. This could mean that the person is actually happy in their current role. Be very careful before removing someone from a job they are good at and putting them in a spot that they are completely unsuited for. Some people are not leaders.
- Hiring Promises Are Part of the Problem
Companies often promise “rapid advancement” which is completely detrimental. This places an expectation of promotion on the table and you will have to live up to it or lose an employee.
- We Always Promote From Within
This is common and completely asinine at the same time. Think of top level executives in large corporations, they move from industry to industry with little problem. Why? Because leadership is not about the product or service, it’s about the people you manage.
A supervisor will with each step up take one step away from product specific problems. It’s better to hire a good supervisor from the outside, than to promote a bad one from the inside just because they know the product.
- You Might Lose Them if You Don’t Promote
Then let them go! The damage of losing a low level employee is merely an annoyance when compared to the disaster a bad supervisor can create. Instead of losing one persons productivity, you are stifling the entire team by promoting someone unsuited.
- He / She is the only one you like
If you have less than stellar relations with the rest of the employees, and you are about to promote the only one you like among them. You just lit the fuse to a potentially very big explosion. If you don’t “like” many of your employees, chances are they don’t like you either. We’ll get to that later, but for now, know that the person you do like is probably not well liked among his or her peers.
Be very careful in promoting a person that is poorly liked by his or her peers. A supervisor is not every ones friend, but promoting someone that is already an “enemy” is going to sour relations between employees and supervisor as well as towards the company. Remember that a supervisor is not only there to enforce your policy, they are there to get the best performance out of the team. Being poorly liked and seen as the “bosses pet” is not a good platform to stand on when your job is to lead and motivate.
- Kissing Your Rosy …. Is Not A Leadership Quality
You want a supervisor that is independently thinking about the best for the business. Not someone who will constantly nod and kiss your derriere. Supervisors have direct contact with areas that you no longer will. When something in their world changes, they have to be able to stand up and say so, even when it means disagreeing with you.
Avoid ipromoting yes people, it’s great for your ego, and a horrible business decision.
Preparation is Key
Like every other aspect of business, You need to consider growth early on and plan accordingly. Don’t make the mistake of letting your success run away from you, forcing you to grow faster than you can control, which in turn will inevitably make you promote the wrong person.
If you don’t plan for success early, the success won’t last long.