It’s a more commonly-asked question than it might appear. Should I actually promote the person I am considering is right for the advanced role, or should I ensure they have the attributes, skills and knowledge before placing them in the new role?
A good way of identifying if this person is ripe for promotion now, is to ask about the personal attributes and qualities they possess, and would that make for a good employee for the role you are attempting to fill.
They may well be competent in doing the job itself; that is, they fit the ‘can-do’ requirements of the role. The big question is…will they do the job well?
In many roles, these are the will-do factors that can be all-important:
* A good team-player. Will this person work well with others in a team situation? Are they co-operative and helpful? Have they displayed evidence of good teamwork in their current job, and what’s been their reaction when working in teams?
* Track record. No matter how long they have been doing their current job, measure how well they have done it. Promoting someone simply because of the length of time they have been with you won’t bring the results you need at a higher level in the organisation. What did they accomplish in their current role? Look at their track-record and identify what results they have achieved and how they will make an impact at the higher level.
* Interpersonal skills. They might have a high IQ, skill-set, talent and ability, but what about the key aspect of all leadership, that of great interpersonal skills? How do they currently interact with others to get the job done? Can they verbally communicate ideas and concepts constructively and clearly?
* Organisational skills. What’s their attention to detail like and how organised were they in the current job? What changes will they need to display in the new role?
* Flexibility. Can they adapt to change, or are they grasping for the status quo? How happy are they with constantly-changing demands and data that changes every few minutes?
* Willingness to Learn. You need people these days who are open to learning new ideas and concepts, curious to try new things and assess new values. If the person is kind of stuck in their ways, or have been doing things the same way for years, ask yourself how open they would be to developing new skills.
* Initiative. Will they be able to take on the responsibilities that the new job will entail without too much direction? Can they seize the initiative and drive changes through proactively?
* Problem-solving ability. Do they have good analytical abilities and show a solutions-focused mindset? Is it critical to have such qualities in the new role?
* Creativity. Like showing initiative, creativity is a key skill you want the new person to being to the role. Do they need to think of new ideas for the role? How have they shown creative thinking in the past? If they haven’t been very creative before, don’t expect them to start now.
* Reliability. Do they follow-through, have they met all their deadlines, can you count on them to get a good job done? All these are important traits to show how reliable a person is.
* Good motivator. Can they provide the environment for their team members to feel self-motivated? How do other people feel about their motivation traits?
* Effective leadership style. What behaviours and judgments have they shown in the current role to depict how they will behave as a leader in the new role? Are these the traits you desire, or must the person select a new style before they can make an impact in the promoted position?
These are desirable traits in any promotable person, but you need to assess the value of the person in the new role before deciding whether they are ripe for promotion now. It may be better to hold off for a short while and allow the person to improve their skill-sets in these common areas before considering them for promotion. Remember that overlooking someone for promotion now may be very demotivational for them. Setting specific goals for their skill-set before promoting them may result in a strong foundation being laid before building a fragile structure. Think about how you develop them and those desired skills before making the commitment and regretting it later.
Head of Training
Originally published: 13 February, 2012
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