Our reader poll today asks: Which of the following best describes your organization’s approach to promoting people?
- Promote them when they demonstrate 70-80% of the ability required at the next level 39.85%
- Promote them when they demonstrate 100% of what’s required at the next level 10.16%
- Promote them once they’ve been serving as an “interim” at the next level for a while 13.29%
- Promise promotion but don’t be clear on what it takes to achieve it 23.43%
- Promise promotion, set clear standards, and then move the standards when they get close 4.68%
- We never promote anyone 8.59%
Take the risk or lose them. While a sizeable portion (40%) of you report your organization promotes someone when they’re almost ready for the role, 24% are more conservative and wait for the person to be in an interim role at the next level or fully-functioning at the next level. While this mitigates some risk, it also reduces motivation and increases frustration. You’re basically telling the person “we don’t believe you can get to that level of performance so you have to prove to us that you can before we take the risk and promote you.” Not a very motivating message or vote of confidence in their ability to grow. For those who promise promotion but aren’t clear or who change the standards before the promotion is due, you’re going to lose those people eventually. People have career goals and don’t take kindly to being toyed with. Move the standard too often or never articulate what it takes to get promoted and you might find your people moving on and getting promoted somewhere else. The cost to replace someone is drastically higher than promoting from within. Take the risk and develop them. After all – that’s what being a leader is all about.
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These results were originally a SmartPulse poll in SmartBrief on Leadership which tracks feedback from more than 240,000 business leaders. Get smarter on leadership and sign up for the SmartBrief on Leadership e-newsletter.