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Performance Management | Not Everyone is Manager Material

Updated: Aug 15, 2023

If you promote the wrong people into managerial roles, you are limiting business success. It sounds easier than it is. I mean, who plans to promote the wrong person? No one. However, small business leaders often become blinded by those that are good performers, those that can meet sales goals, and those that can push beyond their limits. While someone may be spectacular at crushing their current job duties, does that mean they have what it takes to be a manager? Not one bit. The thought of who to promote has a significant impact on the productivity of a team. By promoting the wrong person, you work to bring the team down. Here is what you can do to ensure you make the right decision on a promotion and secure business success and happy team members -

Clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the job - Let’s face it, in small business settings, things tend to become less formal and conversations about an opening may transpire before it is even developed. Take a pause. The next step of a manager might sound glorifying to someone considering the salary increases and career ladder move, but it comes with serious responsibility. The job description should be generated and those that are contenders for the role should carefully consider.

Do not pressure someone into taking it - I have seen time and time again where managers get a thought of someone who is a great performer and think they could be a strong contender for a manager role. The manager continues to talk to the internal employee about it and selling the role. In turn, the employee who may not feel ready for the next step, is in a tough spot. Does he/she turn away the opportunity and risk disappointing their manager? Does he/she take the opportunity fearing they may set themselves and the business up for stress? Let the employee do the talking, not you.

Ensure the employee gets assessed on their leadership capability, not just job skills - Beyond the day-to-day tasks, how does this employee handle group tasks? How does this employee handle conflict? It is crucial to monitor their interactions with their peers and if they step up or step down in these interactions.

Ultimately, promoting the wrong person can have serious consequences to a business. Not everyone is management material and that is okay. If someone has an interest in that next step and could have strong potential, educate them and then test them. Have your employee attend a leadership course or put them in charge of the next project. It is important to let this responsibility build over time so they can naturalize their skillset. Building strong leaders doesn’t happen overnight.

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