Promote From Achievement, Not Longevity

“We should promote Ben. He’s been here the longest and we’ve passed over him twice.”

Leaders, ever hear a colleague say this? Too many times, people are promoted because they’ve simply stuck around even though they’ve not achieved results. This is not good for anyone, especially the one being promoted.

What’s Been the Plan?

In the example above and you are the leader of the group, speak with Ben’s manager and find out if Ben’s been orphaned developmentally.

Ask yourself, or the manager, these questions to find out where things stand for Ben:

  • Does Ben have a development plan? Did he agree to it?
  • When was he reviewed last? What was the outcome?

The greatest way you can contribute to Ben is to have a formalized conversation with him about his developmental areas. Let him know you appreciate his loyalty and you want to promote him if he raises his skills to a higher level. Next, mutually create his development plan with his manager so that you all own it.

Create Structure

Quite often leaders have development conversations on an ad hoc basis versus a structured basis.

Ben needs the structure…and so do you.

When you have the development conversation, bear in mind that you are contributing to Ben, NOT castigating him. Most leaders need coaching in how to deliver tough feedback.
There are many ways to be candid with Ben and retain his desire to grow.

Know Their Goals

Developing employees must include understanding what’s important to them. Ben will have personal goals, which you need to know as you map out his growth. You can also observe his actions and note towards what projects, actions, and clients he gravitates, a sure sign that this is where his passion lies and that a certain client type/group is where he finds satisfaction. Set him up for success by capitalizing on those while also creating a plan to develop skills that will help achieve the goals YOU have for him too.

Ben must buy into this plan or it will fail. Make sure you get agreement from him, and his manager, to create a covenant that will move his development, and your department, forward.

Have an employee like this? Use these tips and, let me know how it goes!