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I want to shout out "STOP THE MADNESS!" Leaders who make the decision to promote a single contributor to a managerial position often are disappointed in the results, yet many don't learn from their mistakes.

So as a leader, you just had a position open up that you need to get filled, and all of the entry level team members are gunning for it. What criteria do you use to determine who is best ready for the challenge?

In reality it usually is not that hard, you generally have someone who is more deserving of the position based off of their work ethic, motivation and performance. However, what if you have more than one ready to move up in the organization?

First off, the evaluation process should have started well before the position opened up. It is crucial that as a leader you keep an eye on your team members and see who is exceling and in what area.

Once you have noticed a potential "high performer" assessing them on multiple criteria is key. Performance reviews are not enough, there are other criteria needed to move up in your organization. Some things to look for when assessing team members:

Necessary Skills Needed for Future Position

You might have a team member that excels in the position they currently hold, but what if they took the additional responsibilities associated with the promotion? Do they possess the management, strategic thinking and problem solving skills to perform well?

Leadership and Management Ability

Are they able to lead a team? How well do they communicate across the organization? Do they show initiative, are they respected by their peers? A lot of this has to do with the way they act outside the office.


I have heard employers talk about team members who speak poorly of the company, thinking it will never get back to the employer. However, it is their own image they are hurting. What will the other team members think when that person is promoted and has that mentality?


The biggest issue I have seen with potential promotions is that the person has trouble delegating and getting work done through others. And a follow on is holding people accountable once effective delegation has taken place.

Motivation and Desire

And the final situation that I've seen happen is a single contributor is promoted only to find out that the position was not what they expected. Before promoting, have the crucial conversation with your employee about what changes they will need to be making and determine how motivated they are to make the changes.

After the assessment is done and candidates are chosen, the interviewing process takes place. Focus on using behavioral interview questions that will illuminate the areas discussed above. Having the knowledge prior to the promotion will set the team member up for success and allows them the ability to continue moving up within the organization.

Don't forget that feedback is crucial; so speak with everyone that was hoping for the promotion and let them know why they were not chosen. This is a great time to talk about their development plans.

What additional criteria could you use to determine who is a potential "high performer"?


Larry Hart

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