According to a recent Gallup poll in 2014 companies promote the wrong person to a management role 82% of the time. In my book “Theory You” I noted that was one of the main reasons for writing the book. If we want to examine the problem there are several contributing factors that involve both the company making the decision as well as the person being promoted.
Companies are at fault in promoting the wrong person because many companies do not have a training program for potential or future managers and many companies provide little if any assistance for those being promoted. Many promotions occur because a person is skilled or adept at their current position and it is assumed the best person at that job should therefore be promoted. A good example comes from my experience in the advertising industry. In almost every agency the most talented creative person is promoted to the position of creative director. No agency in my experience provided any training for the creative person being promoted and I worked at three of the best agencies in the business.
Two issues arise when the talented creative person is promoted. First, they experience a new challenge they are unprepared to conquer. Many newly appointed creative directors try to copy someone from their past but frequently their understanding of that successful creative director is superficial. They try to copy what they saw without an understanding of the thinking behind those actions. Second, the best creative person is engaged in managing and thus has less time to be creative thus weakening the creative output of the agency. This does not take into account the increase in the stress level of the newly appointed creative director and the effect of that stress upon her or him and the resultant stress on the staff as they watch their leader try to grow into the new position. These issues apply to all industries from sales people being promoted to sales manager to analysts being promoted to department head.
The people being promoted are also a contributor to the 82% failure rate of promoting the wrong person. Most of the people being promoted never properly prepare for their promotion. When the promotion occurs is when they begin their real preparation. They miss out on a huge opportunity by not learning to manage themselves and then learn to apply the skills they used in managing themselves to managing others. Developing that discipline and skill is the basis of my book. Learn to manage yourself and use that skill to manage others.
In another survey it was discovered the number one reason why people leave their company is their relationship with their direct manager. 50% of the people in the survey cited this as the number one reason why they left the company. It is estimated that weak employee engagement costs American business about $450 billion per year. That is a staggering number.
In fact all the numbers pointed out here are staggering:
* 82%- the wrong person is promoted to a management role
* 50%- people leave a company because of their poor relationship with their
* $450 billion- lost by American business each year due to promoting the
The step from doer to manager is a huge step and both the companies and the individuals have access to solutions. It simply requires discipline and commitment and a willingness to seek help. However the step to seek help is also a huge step because it involves change. Promoting the wrong person will continue until companies display a willingness to change and also until individuals begin the process of learning to manage themselves so they can properly and effectively manage others.