Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Going Nowhere

Photoexpress |Mary Keuffer
 Your team hears that there's a promotion available in the company. One of your team members was in the running but didn't get the promotion. They come to you and ask, "Why didn't I get the job?" What do you tell them? How can you take this moment and soften the blow while also rebuilding this worker into a more efficient and productive member of the organization. So that the next time they are up for promotion they get it. Read on
"The only risk of failure is promotion." ~ Scott Adams
The blow of being passed over for an promotion is something that we've all felt at one time or another. I guess it's possible that you're reading this and have always gotten the promotion.

As Leaders sometimes the hardest thing to do is take that employee who is feeling down and under-appreciated, feeling like they are going nowhere.  I've had to face this situation in my own life as well with subordinates. I usually let them mull over the news for a day or two and I then pull them into my office and have a heart to heart. It usually goes something like this. "Your upset that you didn't get promoted?" I say.
They respond, "Yes, I have worked very hard and have done everything asked of me."
"Well, yes you have done most things asked of you, but what have you done that is above and beyond your job description?"

This is where they usually look like I punched them square in the nose. I ask that question to get them to stop and really reflect on, "What have I done that is above and beyond?" Sometimes it's not about just doing your job. Sometimes it's demonstrating that you're ready for increased responsibilities and the maturity to make the tough decisions. Once the shock wears off I pull out their latest performance review and we go over it. Typically, there are things on there that where discussed but not acted on.  Bottom line is 99% of the time there are very tangible reasons why they did not promote. I like to give them instances in my career where I felt the same way and was lucky enough to have a boss or mentor who pulled me aside and had the same talk.

Reinforce their strengths first, tell them what they are doing well and how it impacts the team or organization in a positive way. Then go over where they can improve skill sets, communication, work ethic, education, etc..  Which will add to their strengths and take them above the competition. This will not only add value to the team and organization, it will increase their productivity and efficiency, thereby giving you something to brag about them to the hierarchy in your organization.

I'm not going to cover every way this can play out or if politics are involved. Because as we all know, sometimes the right person doesn't get promoted or hired. Let them know where they are strong, but do not be afraid to shoot straight with them and tell them where they are weak.

I firmly believe that as Leaders, are jobs are to mentor and train our people to take our jobs. Let that sink in, don't freak out. By doing that, we strengthen not only our people but the whole organization and it's profitability in Financial and Human capitol.

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