What’s in a Manager?

Promoting an employee to manager status is a vital decision that can make or break your company. The right manager can galvanize your office; the wrong one can stunt your team’s growth and make life difficult for everyone. But for such an important decision, promoting a manager is too often mishandled. Here are a few tips to remember when you are considering making this big move.

1. Work ethic means nothing without people skills

Your most productive worker deserves to be recognized for their efforts. But if that worker is, let’s say, a tech gal who can code any program but can’t hold a conversation, don’t put her in charge of other people! Find a different way to compensate that kind of employee without jeopardizing the overall workflow of the business. Not everyone is cut out to be a manager — you have to find someone who has a great work ethic, high emotional intelligence, and strong interpersonal and communication skills. This can be tough to find, but it’s better to be patient and wait for that person to emerge than to force a managerial role on someone who probably isn’t the best. While someone may be very technically strong, the managerial position requires a different and unique skill set.

2. Don’t mistake arrogance for confidence/leadership

A manager has to be comfortable leading people, and that inherently requires a decent amount of confidence. However, having too much confidence can (and inevitably will) rub people the wrong way. You’re looking for someone who wants success not just for themselves, but for everyone in the office, as well as the business itself. One good way to test this in an employee is to ask them about a successful project they were involved with. Pay attention to whether or not they credit others, or spend most of the discussion praising their own work (look for “WEs” rather than “Is”. A manager looks out for the well-being and growth of the entire operation, not just their own career.

3. Creativity and innovation are invaluable

A good manager will take the pressure off of you and handle day-to-day operations. A great manager will do that AND consistently come to you with new ideas and strategies on how to improve their department, processes, and even the business. You don’t want to promote someone who is content with being an office watchdog. A truly great managerial candidate should act as an extension of your vision, and will have already thought of ways to strengthen the company before they are being considered for a promotion.

Good managers are essential to the success of your company. Make sure that you are promoting individuals into this important role for the right reasons and that your candidates are individuals who can motivate and inspire your employees by demonstrating these behaviors above.

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