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Why the wrong people are often promoted

Blair Mcpherson

I asked someone I managed if they had thought about applying for a management vacancy that was currently being advertised. No they said. I asked why not since they had the experience and qualifications plus they had a reputation as someone who was very effective in building up positive relations both internally and externally. Exactly what those making the appointment we looking for. Not for the first time  I heard the phrase,  “ I don’t want the hassle”.

No doubt it will be considered a controversial statement but in my opinion  the standard of management within most organisations is poor and despite  the popularity of MBA’s as an essential requirement and the best efforts of HR there is little evidence that standards are likely to improve. The reason is that all too often the wrong people get appointed.

One reason for this is that the people who would make the best managers and senior managers don’t apply. The reason, a macho management, risk adverse, conformists, blame culture with inadequate resources, and unrealistic targets, in which employees are assumed to be the problem not the solution. Frequently summarised as too much hassle.

It’s a mistake to dismiss individuals who express these concerns as unambitious. In my experience they know they have a lot to give , willingly take on responsibilities above their pay grade and put themselves forward for working groups and corporate projects. They don’t lack confidence in their own abilities , they know they could do a good job. They just lack confidence in the person who would be their line manager/ senior management/ the organisation.

As a mentor I want to encourage these individuals, to convince them that they can change things by getting appointed. Maybe there is a net work of people in a similar position inside or outside the organisation I can put them in touch with. Because they will need support. They would benefit from on going mentoring. I would also recommend getting HR to fund joining a management peer group  learning set in their locality or area of business/speciality.

If organisations are serious about  improving the quality of management they need to convince people they can make a difference,  people who are currently put off applying because they think the job just isn’t worth the hassle.

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