Promotion into Management isn’t always the best thing for your stars

When you promote within your team, bear in mind that different jobs are suited to different personalities, and don’t expect your promoted star to instantly become a star manager.

Sure, sometimes it happens. But the best salesperson doesn’t automatically become a great sales manager. The greatest developer doesn’t instantly become a great team lead.

And it’s not their fault. The skills to manage or lead a team are very different from those for doing the work within that team. And the motivations are also different – the kick from getting an elegant piece of code working beautifully is different from the kick of watching a team member flourish under your guidance. The buzz of closing a £1m deal is different from the one of knowing your team is aligned behind a compelling vision.

So if you’re going to promote from within (which I’m a fan of), first make sure first that the fit’s right – that a role of managing people would suit the person involved, then support them in transitioning. Their heritage should earn them respect from their team, but they will also need to develop a new skillset.

But just as important, make sure you also have a path for your stars to continue growing that isn’t about management in case that’s not their thing. You don’t want to lose stars simply because there’s nowhere for them to go in your company.

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