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Worker not ready for promotion … But that’s not what he and others think

by on
in Leaders & Managers,Management Training,People Management

Problem: Despite his dependability, intelligence and technical ability, you know Jason lacks the leadership and initiative to become a supervisor. Trouble is, the buzz around the office is that Jason has it locked up.

Promote him, and you may have trouble down the road; deny him, and you torpedo his morale.

What would you do?

The Answer: Failure to get a promotion can be an ego-shattering experience for any employee, but it takes on a special significance when the employee is an above-average performer who has the respect and affection of other employees.

At the very least, he may become discouraged about the future and his performance is almost certain to decline. The resulting loss of loyalty and commitment can affect the attitude of other employees who may view their own futures accordingly.

It is your responsibility as a manager to convince employees who have been passed over for a promotion that your decision is the correct one and, at the same time, avoid bruising their egos.

Use these tips if pressed by a passed-by employee:

•    When you’re dealing with a single employee who may have missed out on a promotion in a close decision, make it a point to specify the exact reasons for your decision. Let him know there were specific requirements and capabilities the other employee possessed that were closer to what the job demanded.

Then discuss an action plan, which you can tie to the individual’s performance appraisals, that will focus on bringing the employee into a better position for the next potential promotion. Analyze training options, strengths to be enhanced, weaknesses to be addressed, even programs outside work that might contribute to a faster advancement track for the bypassed employee.

•    Keep your temper even if the em­­ployee loses his. It’s normal for an employee’s disappointment to turn to anger. If you lose control, the session will turn into a confrontation between two angry people. Let employees vent their emotions, then get on with the meeting.

•    If you determine that an employee is definitely not promotable, don’t offer false encouragement. Explain that you value the particular skills and support he provides, and you are looking for him to continue to hold a key role in the department.

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