Tag Archives: Solutions

Promotion? Not worth it…

If you’ve just spent time trying to convince people who work for you to accept a promotion,  you’ve probable got a few questions in mind.  Questions like, “Why won’t these guys take a chance?” or “Where is their drive, their motivation, their commitment?”

These may be the wrong questions.  The real question should be “Why the heck can’t I sell a promotion?”  This really translates into “What the heck is wrong with our organizational culture?”

As Wally Bock pointed out in his recent post, supervisory roles are in crisis.  Wally’s point is well founded; companies have been promoting people right up to their level of incompetence for years.  The other point he makes that resounds with me is that the younger folks amongst us are less likely to want to take on these roles if the examples they’ve seen either aren’t doing a good job or are receiving the corporate head smack at every turn.  After all, why would you want to replace the person you’ve just spent the last two years feeling sorry for?

Does your boss look like this? Want his job?

If you are a leader, have a look around at the supervisor’s working for you.  Have you created an environment that attracts good people?  Have you created an environment that makes people aspire to the jobs you’re offering?

Food for thought.

Coaching = Mentorship

Successful leaders grow their own replacements by coaching them along the way.  Think of it as your own organic garden; you plant the seeds, water when required and take a great deal of care to make sure all your plants grow up straight and healthy.  Your organization, be it big or small, deserves the same care and attention.


As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Navy recognizes mentorship as a critical component to effective force development.  A healthy attitude, considering internal promotions are the norm for military forces due to their specialized nature and organizational cultures.

Future Navigators working together to learn.

The business world calls it coaching.  Candice Francovelgia does a great job of outlining some of the basic principles that should help us train tomorrow’s leaders.   The emphasis is on creating self-starters that have the independent thought and emotional intelligence to succeed.  This means that we don’t lecture; we ask thought provoking questions.  We don’t hand deliver solutions, but patiently guide people in the right direction.  We don’t solve their problems, we listen to their solutions and help them find the way.  After all, we want to provide opportunities to develop and flex muscles, not a crutch with which to limp along to mediocrity.

Interesting fact: 63 per cent of companies indicate that they engage in mentoring while remainder say they plan to.  Ask yourself the simple question – are you growing your leaders or are you with the 37 per cent non-starter crowd?  Either way, food for thought.

Assume Some Risk: Stand Back

In my experience, one of the prime reasons that we find ourselves approaching the dreaded area of micromananagment is fear.  What are we afraid of?  Here’s a few reasons that stick out:

  • Situational awareness. If I’m not there every minute of every day, I won’t know what’s happening.  Solution – identify your information requirements (what do you really need to know to track and guide progress) and communicate those to your  team.  As an added bonus, make sure your team knows why you need what you asked for; improved flow of information will result.
  • The project won’t be mine. Success of the team is not about you, it’s about the team.  Solution – remind yourself that even as leader, you are part of the team.  Check your communication style to make sure that’s the message you’re sending.
  • If I don’t tell them what to do, how will they know what to do? If you’ve been clear in your intent, everyone should know what to do without the constant reminders.  Solution – make sure your intentions are clear, concrete and sticky.  That means investing time in the front end to provide relevant instructions.  Have you ever assembled a piece of cheap furniture and found the instructions impossible to comprehend?  Hint:  Don’t be that guy…

So assume some risk.  Acknowledge that you won’t know absolutely everything.  Acknowledge that you don’t actually need to.