Author: Lynda McNutt Foster
As seen in Forbes, Inc.
As a manager, one of your most important jobs is to identify and groom the next generation of leadership at your organization. You might know what a particular employee’s next step should be, but figuring out exactly when to promote can be tricky. Move someone up too soon, and he or she will feel overwhelmed by the new responsibilities. Wait too long, and the employee will feel frustrated or resentful — and may even start looking for other opportunities.
So how can you tell if the timing is right? We asked members of Forbes Coaches Council to each name one key sign that indicates an employee is ready for a promotion.
1. They’re Always Seeking The Next Challenge<
When employees seek challenging projects and assignments and see them through successfully, it’s a clear sign they are promotion ready. Leverage their past performance data and past work data. Identify where they have excelled. If a project manager has shown strategic insight as a strength, give them a promotion that leverages that strength. – Gia Ganesh, Gia Ganesh Coaching
2. They Have Strong “People Skills”
You can easily teach technical skills and systems, but people skills and communication skills are harder to teach. Anyone who is fantastic at handling conflict, giving feedback, engaging teams or communicating with difficult people would make a great leader and will require less training to get there. – Kimberly Giles, Claritypoint Coaching Academy
3. They’ve Already Crafted Their Potential Next Step
High performers with high potential should drive their own career development. When these individuals approach their managers with a proposal for a new role, complete with how their skill sets will continue adding value to the business, this is a key sign they’re ready for a promotion. Taking this initiative will prompt the conversation around what the next career step will look like. – Lizabeth Czepiel, Lizabeth Czepiel, LLC
4. They’re Aligned With The “Why” And The “Who”
The employee ready for promotion is the one who, with each decision, considers the company mission and people. A high performer (a lone wolf salesperson who exceeds personal quota, for example) may not be your best candidate for promotion. Instead, seek out that one person who has genuine affection for the purpose of the organization (the “why”) and the people accomplishing the mission (the “who”). – Mark S. Babbitt, YouTern
5. They Handle Failures Maturely
When an employee takes responsibility for a failure and uses it to become a better leader, it’s the first sign that he or she is ready for a promotion. How someone handles and deals with setbacks and obstacles is a legitimate sign that they are willing to learn and will grow into the promotion you would like them to achieve. – Lynda Foster, Cortex Leadership Consulting
6. They’re Already Doing Work At The Next Level
An employee looking for more ways to make your life easier is one primed to take on a larger role. It is more common to be doing aspects of a role before actually getting the position. They are showing they can do it and, more importantly, they want to do it. Check in and make sure the new challenge is the one that will keep that star on your team. Show them you care about what they care about. – Michelle Tillis Lederman, Executive Essentials
7. They Routinely Identify And Solve Organizational Problems
When employees identify a problem that needs fixing, develop and implement a solution and bring it forward, or go ahead and implement the solution (if within the scope of expectations), they are ready for increased responsibility. To determine what kind of promotion, ask yourself if they excel at operations, management or strategy, and consider an assessment to identify key strengths and skills. – Sharon Hull, Metta Solutions, LLC
8. They Consistently Demonstrate Their Impact On The Business
If an employee has generated consistent and significant business impacts, they are proving their worth and should be rewarded with growth opportunities. Fostering a high achiever can have an excellent return. Start a conversation to explore short- and long-term career plans. Identify areas of interest that align with business offerings and goals to determine if there is a discernable next step. – Adrienne Tom, Career Impressions