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Friday, June 19, 2009

Can a person be promoted too fast?

Or before he or she is ready to handle the responsibility?

My opinion is a very strong YES.

Maybe you've seen it; I certainly have. I've seen it because I've done it and been burned by it. I think the problem often stems from managers who are getting covered up with stuff and need someone desperately to fill a leadership position. The managers look around and settle on someone who is performing really well at the current level.

Don't get me wrong...I'm a big proponent of developing your people. How can someone grow if they're not given more responsibility? The big mistake comes when we give our rising star too much power too fast.

What does it do so many times? Goes right to their heads. As Pat Riley says in his book, "The Winner Within", they just don't know how to handle their "meteoric rise". Sometimes your star can handle the duties of the job and sometimes he or she struggles. What almost all of them fail at is keeping their egos in check.

It's just human nature, isn't it?

Regardless, you end up really needing that person in the role. You've worked every angle and this is what you need to do. OK, that's fine. So how do you do your best to ensure everything works out, your star flourishes and you don't end up with a bucket-load of headaches? You:
~Set the expectations for your star and, if you feel it appropriate, warn of the potential issues right away ("You need to understand, regardless of the trust I've placed in you, you can't let this go to your head. Genuine humility is one of the signs of a real leader, so keep it real").
~Let him or her know you'll be watching.
~Stay involved, giving regular guidance and direction
~If you see any issues re: "the big head", nip them in the bud ASAP.
The best choice, in my opinion, is to wait for the right person to fill your critical job. But, if you have a potential superstar and want/need to give him or her the chance to achieve great things, closely oversee and guide for success.

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