We promote the wrong people – 4 out of 5 times

ManagementAre your managers up to snuff? Are you confident you have the right people in management posts?

A  Gallup poll suggests you shouldn’t be.

Gallup found that one of the most important decisions companies make is selecting managers. Yet most companies get it wrong — 82% of the time!

Eight out of 10!

According to Gallup, only 18% of current managers demonstrate a high level of talent for managing others, while another 20% show some level of talent for it.

You're Fired!
The study’s authors said: “Bad managers cost businesses billions of dollars each year, and having too many of them can bring down a company. The only defense against this massive problem is a good offense, because when companies get these decisions wrong, nothing fixes it.”

Promote the wrong people

Businesses that get it right, however, and hire managers based on talent will thrive and gain a significant competitive advantage.

What it all means is that 18% of managers

  • Motivate every single employee to take action and engage them with a compelling mission and vision.
  • Have the assertiveness to drive outcomes and the ability to overcome adversity and resistance.
  • Create a culture of clear accountability.
  • Build relationships that create trust, open dialogue, and full transparency, and
  •  Make decisions that are based on productivity, not politics.

It seems every manager can learn to engage a team somewhat. But without the raw, natural talent to individualize; focus on each person’s needs and strengths; boldly review their team members; rally people around a cause; and execute efficient processes, the day-to-day experience will burn out both the manager and his or her team.

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  1. Erhard Wiedemann says:

    A good article.
    In general, the internal promotion of staff for many organisations is based on; the person is a good operator, knows his/her stuff, is punctual, gets on well with other staff etc.
    This does not make the person a good team leader/supervisor/manager. Organisations should see such person as having the potential and then invest in them by either educating them or having them educated on management best practice. Unfortunately, many organisions are too short sighted and only see their staff as work units rather than part of their asset base.
    It is interesting to note that organisations will have no problem in spending time and money to invest in the maintenance and improvement of their equipment equipment and technology that drives their organisation, but not invest in the people that ensures the productivity of that equipment and technology.
    Good management practice is to invest in succession planning that provides staff members with the ability to move through the organisation and have the ability of moving the organisation forward. This is also good risk management practice and quality assurance.

    The decision to employ staff from outside the organistion as team leaders/supervisors/managers should not be done on the basis of; he/she is a nice person, we think they will be alright to lead, they look O.K. etc.
    The organisation must ensure it has the appropriate hiring practices in place or uses a recruitment company that has strict guidelines that would govern who they put forward as a candidate.
    All external employment should be done on the basis of past performance, the person has the skillsets the organisation requires and the person has the ability to adapt to the organisational culture. Liking the person should not be a prerequisit for employment. What the person can bring to the organisation is.
    Hiring externally does not absolve the organisation from its obligation to invest in that person to ensure its getting the type of team leader/supervisor/manager it needs, not what it may wants.

  2. Hello Rich, “We promote the wrong people – 4 out of 5 times” is old news.

    Successful employees have all three of the following success predictors while unsuccessful employee lack one or two and usually it is Job Talent that they lack.
    1. Competence
    2. Cultural Fit
    3. Job Talent 

    Employers do a… 

    A. great job of hiring competent employees. 

    B. good job of hiring competent employees who fit the culture. 

    C. poor job of hiring competent employees who fit the culture and who have a talent for the job. 

    Identifying the talent required for each job seems to be missing from talent and management discussions. If we ignore any of the three criteria, our workforce will be less successful with higher turnover than if we do not ignore any of the three criteria.
    1. Competence
    2. Cultural Fit
    3. Talent

    There are many factors to consider when hiring and managing talent but first we need to define talent unless “hiring talent” means “hiring employees.” Everyone wants to hire for and manage talent but if we can’t answer the five questions below with specificity, we can’t hire or manage talent effectively.
    1. How do we define talent?
    2. How do we measure talent?
    3. How do we know a candidate’s talent?
    4. How do we know what talent is required for each job?
    5. How do we match a candidate’s talent to the talent demanded by the job?

    Most managers cannot answer the five questions with specificity but the answers provide the framework for hiring successful employees and creating an engaged workforce.

    Talent is not found in resumes or interviews or background checks or college transcripts.

    Talent must be hired since it cannot be acquired or imparted after the hire.

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