Think Twice Before Promoting Your Best Producer

Do the best producers make the best managers? Almost unanimously, when leaders are asked this question, the answer is “no.” Yet too often leaders look for candidates among their best producers and select the best worker for the manager job. They assume that because an individual was successful in their contributor role, that individual will be successful in management, too.

Of course, many great producers can and do become great managers, but this is not always the case. Too often, when a superstar gets promoted to manager, one or more of the following happens:

  • He (or she) can’t let go of his old role. He takes charge of details, undermining direct report’s motivation and confidence and weakening their respect.
  • He manages by results only. He expects everyone to produce the same results that he got, but isn’t good at coaching and giving people constructive feedback on how to get there.
  • He avoids administrative responsibilities. He becomes frustrated by the many routine but important tasks that management requires of him.

Before long, the direct reports he manages stop learning and growing. They become disenchanted, disengage from their work, and may even leave the company.

Before promoting the superstar, treat them like you would any external managerial candidate and put them through your rigorous selection process (make sure they are comfortable with the manager job accountabilities, assess their leadership skills, and seek references from others who have seen them lead).  Superstar individual contributors are often happier and better serve the organization doing what they are doing.

Empower yourself to thoroughly vet a superstar before promoting them and you’ll both be more successful.

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Explore posts in the same categories: Leadership, Selection

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