The age-old problem, assuming that your superstar employee wants and is capable of a leadership role.
It feels like promotion to a leadership role is the right next step but is it? Have you explored if they have the right leadership future capability or, even more importantly, do they actually know what is involved and really want it or is it just perceived as the right move?
I have met so many companies that were losing a high performing employee because they actually hated or were very bad in the leadership role they had been promoted into. By the time someone starts failing in or hating a leadership role, it is usually very difficult to reverse the promotion mainly due to ego and what the team will think.
We are currently working with an SME client who are worried about a superstar who has been promoted, actually hates leading, is earning less money but is worried about giving up the leadership reigns because of what the team might think. What's the point of letting them walk away from an environment that they clearly love and have excelled in just because they might suffer from a bit of perceived embarrassment?
So how can you prevent this happening? You need to look at the skills and behaviours that make a great manager and ensure your superstar has them before making the mistake of a wrong promotion.
Here are 6 key things they should have:
1. Be open to feedback and personal change
2. Love supporting the development of others
3. Be open to innovation
4. Be a great communicator
5. Have strong interpersonal skills
7. Support organisational changes
These are not skills that someone can dip in and out of. Being a strong leader is about serving others and putting them first. If your superstar is better on their own then leave them there. It may be a difficult conversation to discuss why they are not suitable for a leadership role but better now than when they have failed and they are heading out of your organisation.
When a company needs a supervisor for a team, senior leaders often anoint the team’s most productive performer. Some of these stars succeed in their new role as manager; many others do not. And when they fail, they tend to leave the organization, costing the company double: Not only has the team lost its new manager, but it’s also lost the best individual contributor. And the failure can be personally costly for the new manager, causing them to doubt their skills, smarts, and future career path. Everyone loses.