Many times a company will promote an employee who has been successful at what they do. However, being a good salesmen, or a good book keeper, does not mean a person knows how to be a good manager. As owners we want to promote an employee who has worked hard, done a great job and been dedicated to the company, but before you promote someone to management be sure they are management material.
Case in point. I know a company that hired someone to be their Sales Manager. That person knew a lot about sales. They were able to come up with great tools to give the sales force to help them develop accounts. This Sales Manager was really good at going on sales calls with the salespeople and closing a sale. Unfortunately as time went on, they discovered that this Sales Manager was really just making sales and not managing the sales force. When it came time to collect the weekly call reports reports from the sales force the Sales Manager did not hold the sales force accountable and so the sales force put off turning in the reports. Although the call report was a tool that the Sales Manager developed, he was unable to follow through with getting the sales force to use that tool. Now that can be frustrating.
The owner of the company had to step in and ask the sales force to turn in their call reports. The owner set the policy, that in order to get their commission they needed to do everything that was required, including turning in their call reports. Most salespeople do not like paperwork but they do like commissions! This coupled with other events helped the owner realize that the person he hired was a really good salesmen, who brought in a lot of new customers, but was not a good Sales Manager. The owner decided to give the Sales Manager the position of New Business Development Director, making him responsible to bring in new key customers, outside of the normal parameters of the sales force. As it turned out that person was very successful at the new role, because it was a better fit for how he was wired.
In closing, owners have to be flexible and when they see an employee who has been around for a long time and who is really excelling, before promoting them to a management role make sure they have the interpersonal skills and leadership skills to be successful at management. If they do not, find another way to promote them using the skills they do have. In our next blog we will talk about what traits to look for in a good manager.
Written by Bradley DeRuiter - Founder Ontrack Results