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Once in a while, promotions just don’t work out. Someone who was great at one job might bomb at another. That’s especially true if the new job involves different skills and talents. Don’t let past performance make you hesitate to discipline.

Recent case: Deshane McCaskey began work as a part-time housekeeper at a YMCA. Soon, she was getting compliments for her hard work and the facility’s cleanliness. This led to full-time work and then a series of promotions. Finally, she was assigned to manage a housekeeping staff.

That’s when things took a turn. Members started complaining that the facilities were no longer clean. Others noted that the housekeepers McCaskey supervised left early without finishing the day’s work. And McCaskey didn’t keep up with the management paperwork required to en­­sure her team was adequately staffed for each shift. McCaskey was terminated when things didn’t improve.

She sued, alleging race discrimination.

But McCaskey couldn’t show that she was qualified for the job she held. While she argued that her promotion proved she was qualified, the court was not persuaded. It reasoned that the employer merely thought she met the minimum qualifications for promotion, but that she proved she was unable to do the job. It dismissed the case. (McCaskey v. Henry, et al., No. 3:10-CV-390, WD NC, 2012)

Final note: Offer orientation training when promoting from within. That way, you increase the chances for a successful transition. This is especially important when moving employees into management—that’s a big change that sometimes proves to be a problem.

Subordinates may also have trouble adjusting when a former co-worker becomes the boss. They may even resent having missed out on the promotion and try to sabotage their former co-worker.

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