Promotion Is Not A Bonus

I work with managers of varying levels on a daily basis. CEOs, CTOs, team leads – I’ve worked with them all.

One emerging pattern I noticed is that many of them are simply terrible managers. They may have been very good at their previous role. They do not seem to be half as good at what they do now, after getting promoted.

This is a known and very common phenomenon. I mentioned it before. Its called The Peter Principle and it basically says that people rise to their level of incompetence.

Imagine someone who’s very good at their job. Her managers want to reward her for her contribution and success. What do they do? They promote her.

In many cases, that is an unfortunate mistake. First, because you stopped a capable employee from doing what they do best. Second, because you now have a mediocre manager at best.

Of course, this isn’t always the case. The individual may prove to be a great manager. What does the company do then? Promote her again. This keeps happening until she no longer performs well, and so won’t be promoted.

What’s the lesson here? Think twice before promoting someone to a managerial role. Are they fit for the role? Can you afford to lose them at their current role? Can you find another way of rewarding them for their contribution?

Just remember that a promotion is not a reward. A promotion is a business decision that should benefit the individual and the business. A reward would be recognition with a nice side of bonus. I’ll have that sandwich any day.

Published by eranboudjnah

A software consultant and tech lead. Passionate about optimizing as many aspects of my life as possible, to free time for what really matters.

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