We’ve all seen the nightmares that can result when a top employee not suitable for management is promoted to a leadership position. You can end up losing the top employee, as well as others on the team…to say nothing of lost productivity and the hit to your company culture.

But how can you tell who will succeed and who will create a tsunami of ill will?

Invest a few minutes perusing this article to get the insights you need and map out the steps you must to take to make your next promotion from within a winning one.

The best managers identify and develop great talent within their organization. Finding a great manager is always difficult because the role of the manager is complex and we have all seen highly productive employees get steamrolled into managerial positions…and fail.

Managers have to oversee operations and personnel. The hybrid of both responsibilities often escapes employees promoted to managerial positions.

You would think that being an employee provides people with insights managers might not have.

Unfortunately, you see it time and time again: A great employee is promoted to a leadership position, and something goes terribly wrong.

Why Do Employees Often Become Bad Managers?

Not all employees make bad managers. Some people are designed for management. They may not have had the experience required for a higher position, but gradually work their way up.

However, certain types of personality disorders can lead to terrible consequences in the workplace. Just because someone works hard and has a great disposition doesn’t mean they’ll make excellent leaders.

Personality Is Everything

Half of all employees leave their jobs because of bad management. When companies promote from within, there is usually limited screening for employees’ future management styles.

Research suggests that narcissists are more likely to be promoted to management positions. Narcissists typically believe they are great leaders, but the reality is very different.

Narcissists get promoted because of their self-confidence and higher-ups like people who display very high confidence levels.

Employees working under narcissists make up the half who often quit. Work relationships have a huge impact on well-being. Narcissistic leaders often start out well.

Over time, their true nature is revealed. Narcissists often can’t sustain positive relationships because of their selfish behaviors.  Self-centered personalities eventually corrode employee trust.

Being a good manager means creating productive employees.

Employees are more likely to be productive when they’re happy at work. Narcissists are not effective managers because they’ll eventually lose the trust and support of their employees.

Environment and Innovation

The top employee in a particular division usually has a tried-and-true method for their success. However, everyone has a different means of completing their job. What works for someone might not work for another.

Employees promoted to managerial positions have to be open minded when it comes to supporting each individual’s workflow. Being a successful manager means allowing for creativity.

Just because something worked for them as an employee, doesn’t mean it’ll work for the people they now supervise.

Evolving into a managerial position means having to rethink one’s work environment. Managers shouldn’t have their own goals in mind, as they did when they were employees.

When they become a manager, the former employee has to put the needs of the company above their personal goals. This is a mental and practical shift that not everyone can achieve.

For an employee, their role consists of getting a job done. Being a good manager means helping others get their job done and innovating new ways to move the company forward.

Burnout

When employees are promoted to managers, many are underprepared for the amount of new work they’ll need to undertake. Managers have to oversee a plethora of moving parts, some of which they may have never experienced before.

Managers undertake a huge amount of responsibility the moment they sign their contracts.  Without the right preparation, many employees can burn out when they’re made into managers.

Burnout is a mental and physical collapse caused by overworking or stress. Burnout often leads to turnover. Turnover is when an employee leaves a company.

Turnover can cost companies huge amounts of money. Not only is there usually a loss in productivity but hiring new talent is an expensive and complicated process.

Overall, there are many macro and micro reasons why many employees do not make the best managers. Thankfully, there are ways to identify those employees who might not make great managers.

How to Identify Good Employees Who Won’t Make the Best Managers

It’s probably unethical to ask employees to take a test to determine if they’re narcissists, but there are tell-tale signs. Low emotional intelligence is one of the core signifiers of a narcissist. People with low emotional intelligence tend to win all office debates because they’re incapable of balanced communication.

Great managers have to have great communication skills. Their job is to foster success. Success won’t be achieved if a manager refuses to communicate effectively with those they oversee.

Many narcissists only want managerial positions for status and money. People who brag about these aspects of a managerial role will turn off their employees.

Sometimes it’s easy to tell who makes a great employee but would make a terrible manager. They’re usually not a fan favorite in the office. Sure, some office politics can feel like high school, but your team won’t work well with someone they already don’t like.

Employee Assessments are Essential in Today’s Competitive Market

Today, there is no reason for you to guess and miss. There are validated, proven employee assessments that will provide solid and actionable guidance to employers so the best people are promoted.

Did you know that 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies rely on employee assessments?

For decades, many of the most successful businesses have saved and profited by incorporating behavioral assessments into their hiring and selection process. They’ve benefited from identifying successful behavioral types, reducing unnecessary turnover, and assembling complementary talent.

With the cost of a bad hire for a mid-level employee at $10K and hiring the wrong executive costing an average of $50K, shouldn’t you be using the very best, unbiased information available when you hire?

Fortunately, today’s technological and algorithmic advances mean these same insights are both affordable and accessible to small and medium-sized businesses for the first time. Fast, simple, affordable, and easy, these assessments are available online so your prospective hires and promotions can quickly complete them and the results are in your hands in minutes.

Assessments will help guide you in many areas of human behaviors and are excellent tools for mapping out individualized performance improvement learning and training programs. Various assessments cover critical attributes such as:

  • Hiring and Selection
  • Communications Skills
  • Behavior Style
  • Motivations
  • Values
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Leadership
  • Trust
  • Coachability
  • Safety
  • 360 Assessments
  • Learning Styles
  • Sales Skills

We are experts in guiding you to the best assessments for your needs and helping you interpret the results. We also offer comprehensive leadership development, sales training, and employee training programs.

Never Skip the Interview

Just because you think someone will make a great manager doesn’t mean you’re right. One of the best ways to identify potential issues is to go through a regular interview process.

Interviews provide higher-ups with an opportunity to ask difficult questions of prospective managers. Hypothetical scenarios, usually related to communication problems or workplace failures, will help you ascertain who has the skills to successfully lead a team.

Allow Everyone to Show Their Skills

If a managerial position is open and you have multiple employees as prospective candidates, why not give them an opportunity to be the manager? Experimenting before making a permanent decision is perfectly acceptable.

By giving people an opportunity to show how they’d perform in a managerial role, you can assess their potential success. These opportunities can be as short as a few hours or as long as a few days or weeks.

Sometimes something as simple as asking an employee to lead a meeting can tell you everything you need to know about their managerial skills. The most important thing is to not rush to decide on a new manager.

Does Training Make a Difference?

Leadership training is always worth the cost, paying back many times the investment you make. Even if someone doesn’t seem like they’ll make a great manager, the right training can change all of that.

The ROI Institute reports that some of its studies show an 8x return on investment after consideration of the improved productivity and effect of lowered employee turnover rates.

The right leadership training will help people at all levels of an organization prepare for a managerial role. So, what are the kinds of skills that leadership training can develop? And what skills should you be looking for in your current employee roster?

Accountability

The best managers have high levels of personal accountability. When something goes wrong within a team, managers have to accept all responsibility.

Employees who refuse to accept responsibility for team-based issues won’t make great managers. Similarly, those who ignore repeated issues can destroy a department.

Inclusive and Compassionate

In today’s workplace, if an employee is treated badly, they’ll just quit.

Great managers need to be as complimentary as possible. High team morale leads to better outcomes, stability, and success of an organization.

Being a good manager also requires a high level of inclusivity. Effective managers will surround themselves with people from different backgrounds and skillsets to learn as much as possible about how to support everyone in their unique needs.

Compassion is not necessarily something that can be taught in leadership training. However, leadership training can show you who your most compassionate employees are.

Compassion is one of the top management skills because well-being is such an intrinsic part of a successful team.  Happy, supported employees are productive employees.

It’s growing increasingly difficult to separate work and personal life. Employees who display a high level of compassion have a better chance of helping others balance their work and life.

Compassion, kindness, and inclusivity also go hand-in-hand with open-mindedness. Open-mindedness is another skill that can’t be taught. Again though, it can be revealed in leadership training.

Leadership Training Helps Filter Through Prospective Managers

Don’t let your personal biases lead your decision-making when it comes to promoting from within. Leadership training can help you discern those employees who will make good and bad managers.

The top management skills are predominantly interpersonal and intrapersonal. You might not know your employees well enough to see who has the best work ethic and skills to make great leaders.

Conversely, you might be too close to your team to see who would make a poor leader. Don’t make someone a manager if they’ll get steamrolled by their responsibilities.

How to Choose Future Managers

If you’re looking to promote employees to managers, get in touch with us today and put science and experience on your side. Our organization offers various proven approaches, leadership assessments, and training to help you select, develop, and promote the best managers.

Don’t make a bad promotional decision that can cost you your business. Your future success is something we will always support.

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