Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Getting promoted to the level you are performing at ...

Some of the stuff I write about aren't my own thoughts but thoughts from fellow front-line managers. In particular, today's thought comes from Cindy:

You do not get promoted because you are doing your job well. You get promoted because you have been performing at the next level long enough for people to notice and reward you.

This came out of a discussion about how some people (fortunately not from Exoweb) were thinking that just because they had just started doing well at their jobs, they were due a promotion/raise. Coming from the other side of the trenches, this doesn't seem really realistic to me.

First - you never promote lightly. For the most part, you cannot demote someone. You end up having to terminate that person if you make a mistake. So until you are absolutely sure this person can perform at the higher level, you take your time with the promotion.

Second - humans have highly variable performance. Someone who is highly motivated today may be very demotivated tomorrow for no apparent reason. If what you are seeing is one of those peaks, promoting the person would be a mistake. One week later, the person could very be performing at a much lower level again. You need proven, sustained performance above the minimum level for the position to be promoted to.

Finally, a person doing well for the current position does not merit a promotion. Not unless you want the Peter Principle throughout the organization (people getting promoted to their level of incompetence.) A person doing well in their current position may get raises and bonuses, but never a promotion. Proof that one does well at the current position is rarely proof that the person would do better at a higher level. The skills are often different. The skills required for a software developer are different from that of an architect, project manager, etc.

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