Develop to Avoid The Highest Level of Incompetence
There are so many individual contributors who do outstanding work. The first mistake management makes is promoting an individual because they are a great task worker. They do this, believing: 1) the person is deserving of the promotion; 2) by promoting that best person, they will replicate what they did ten times over; and 3) by promoting the person with great work ethics, they will motivate their direct reports to do the same.
“All three of those thoughts are flawed and filled with pitfalls, and management ends up promoting to the highest level of incompetence by convincing technicians to take promotions,” says Rick Suarez, President of MasTec Network Solutions. “You don’t take your star quarterback and make him the coach!”
How do you prevent it?
Begin with thoughtful employee developmental plans that include setting expectations and managing to those expectations. Then, take the time yearly to hold one-on-one career development discussions with your employees. First, you must understand what the person wants to do. The fact is most individual contributors do what they do because they want to. They only want to be responsible for themselves, and they do not want the burden of managing others.
Once you know which employees are looking for progression, you really need to analyze and understand what their limitations are. This is important because now that you have a group that wants to progress, you have to assess their odds of being successful.
“The fact is, just because someone wants to be promoted doesn’t mean they should be promoted,” says Rick. “The focus has to be on soft skills, personality and drive/passion. This is where formal training can help them develop as leaders.”
Professional Legacy, Connected Workforce, SOIL Analysis, Actions in Perfect Alignment, Setting Goals, and Creating a Blue Ocean Strategy are a few of the courses Leading Edge Institute has created to help shape individual contributors into managers. But, it doesn’t end there. Along the way, sit the person down to get their thoughts on their lessons learned and whether they feel like they still want to go on.
As Rick says, “You can’t push management jobs on people… They need to want it! After the training is done, you still need to assess whether the person will be a good communicator and coach, and whether they really have the desire to care for members of their team.”
Once you are clear on your decisions, it is time to place them in a management position, but never stop developing!