“I am making a slow scientific suicide”. This is a direct quote from a friend of mine who was promoted from his familiar role as an astro physicist to lead an entire team of researchers. According to my friend, the administrative duties and bureaucracy killed the creativity and joy of doing science.
We’ve all heard the inspiring stories of successful in-house promotions. A brilliant software developer became an amazing team leader because he knew exactly what his employees needed after having done the same daily job. A devoted customer service specialist was promoted, now managing her ex-colleagues with rock solid practical experience, always knowing what to do and how to solve tricky situations.
Maybe, sometimes, but usually, no. Internal promotions are common, but not all organizations know how to support the promoted leaders to handle their new responsibilities. When it comes to leading people, it’s not enough to know the nitty-gritty of the daily work – you need to know the people and how to manage them. The performance of the whole company suffers when leaders are promoted without sufficient skills and support. Leaving new bosses on their own is a no-go.
So before you promote, make sure you plan:
- How to develop leadership skills, both operational and strategic
- How much of your own time can you invest in coaching
- How to change the mindset of the promoted leader from managing his/her own work to supporting others in doing theirs
How to scale your leadership by supporting new leaders?
All growing organizations will inevitably reach the point where one leader can’t do everything and manage everyone. Are you that one leader? Fighting against windmills, waiting for something to magically appear to solve the dilemma? Magic rarely happens and when it does, it’s an illusion. I recommend you take proactive measures to find your way out of the devious labyrinth of "too much of everything on your table and not enough time".
You need to find ways to scale your leadership and empower others to take on more responsibility. This involves a huge risk of increasing your own workload, unless you support your newbie leaders and help them to shine.
Here is a simple list of tips to help you succeed in scaling your leadership by supporting the people you promote.
1. Lay the foundation
Base your own leadership on something long-lasting, like values. When all the employees already know how your company works, it’s much easier for a new boss to start operating in this environment. If the new boss “sings the same song” as you, it will create confidence in the team around him or her.
2. Create a process
Create an easy-to-grasp process for employees to influence decision making. A straightforward process that is quick to learn. It will help the new boss to take over easily and decrease confusion.
3. Make time for coaching
Book one hour a week for the next three months for coaching the new boss. Don’t add to the already stressful situation by demanding reports. Instead, let the coaching become a mutual learning experience.
The time you invest in helping the new boss to find his/her role/style will be returned manifold as peace of mind and more time for growing your business in the future.
Following these simple step-by-step guidelines will help you make in-house promotions worth your while. Stick with the plan and help your future stars to shine!