Before you Announce that Promotion

Promoting your Super Salesperson to manager may not be smart

Most people are promoted based on their abilities to do their current job.

Companies have been known to promote their number one super salesperson to a managerial position without establishing whether that person has the ability to manage, or whether training or other development is required before the appointment.

Chances are that once promoted, performance of the unit may decline and the best salesperson you ever had, now a manager, may get fired.

Even worse, that person may now move from company to company as a manager, and never perform as well as when he or she was a salesperson.

The skills required to be a super salesperson are very different from those needed to be an effective manager.

Management skills such as planning, organizing, leading, controlling, delegating implementation, follow up, together with a basic interest and understanding of administration and finance, is not what the typical salesperson is necessarily good at or even interested in.

The skills and internal driving mechanism that effective sales people tend to have such as an unusually high desire to close a deal to their benefit, may be less prevalent in managers.

Why not just appoint the accountant as the manager?

Chances are that the bookwork will be perfect, but does that accountant want to exit the office to walk around the sales floor, spend time with staff and customers, take part in sales calls, and aggressively push the company’s products? Probably not. The typical accountant, and there are always exceptions, is not wired that way.

How about promoting the hotel chef to general manager?

At one hotel group I was consulting to, I noticed how the former chef, now the current GM, ran back into the kitchen when he saw a huge tour bus arriving at the front door of the hotel.

In a crisis, we all revert to what we do best. This could be a trade, a skill, a profession or even a particular management style.

So what do you do if you need a new manager and you suspect someone within the company does have management potential, or if an employee indicates a desire to move into a management position?

The first step is don’t make a snap decision and blurt out this wonderful new idea. That will raise unrealistic expectations and possibly cause organization disharmony.

You need to think this through very carefully.

Draw up a clear job description of the intended management position.

Decide exactly what is required in the new management job.

Could it be that you need effective management of the status quo, and someone else drives the innovation? Is an entrepreneurial approach required? You have to decide where you want your company to move to in terms of the future.

Once you have decided where you want to go, decide what type of person is needed to get you there.

What specific skills would the new manager need to possess or need to acquire to cater to the company’s needs?

Do these skills include leadership skills, or the ability to interact outside the business environment, or greater financial skills, or a broader thinking ability?

Whatever you decide is required, only then do you match the internal company candidates with the requirements of the job. Of course there may be no suitable internal candidates and you have to recruit from outside.

If an existing employee has the ability and or the interest, you need to plan how to prepare the potential future manager for the job.

Will this be formal training? Will the manager learn through a mentor program or on the job training, or both?

You may prepare a future manager from inside the organization by letting that person spend time in the various departments of your operation. You might even decide to enroll the person in a formal management development course by an accredited institution.

The critical factors are that the candidate must have the potential and the willingness to move into a management position.

It’s our responsibility as business owners to then provide these selected management candidates with development opportunities.

That way, the company and the individual stand both stand to gain.

The first thing Bernard Kirk tells his clients is that the absolute critical factor in any business is people.

With seventeen years of operational management, twenty two years of strategy implementation for multiple entrepreneurs, professionals and high level businesses across the globe, Bernard is an expert in how people affect outcomes.

Having the right people doing the right things in the right job, is usually the difference between mediocrity and greatness for both the individual and the organization. Bernard’s methods of determining what needs to be done by what type of person and how to select and retain those persons has attracted interest on an international basis. Bernard has consulted in the retail, hospitality, manufacturing, medical, recycling professional and academic fields. He lives in Arizona, USA.

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