It is common practice to promote the best in the department to be the department manager. We at Schamp & Associates feel that this is a mistake and fulfills what has become known as the Peter Principle.
First of all, what is the Peter Principle?
The Peter Principle states that organizations have a tendency to promote all their best employees until they reach a point where they underperform, or are even incompetent, at their position.
Why does this happen?
Often times, companies assume that a great employee would automatically become a great manager. Or companies assume that the top performing employee will be able to teach the team and make them all perform just as well. However, this is a mistake: being an effective manager requires its own specialized set of skills that are often unrelated to the content of the work itself.
One of managers’ central tasks is to leverage their employees’ abilities to operate at the highest levels of effectiveness and efficiency possible. This involves putting the right tasks in the right team members’ hands, managing conflict within the department, managing the flow of information within the department, and much more.
So, what would you recommend?
Play to your employees' strengths. Let an excellent employee continue to be an excellent employee, find another way to promote and retain him/her (such as promote the highest performing engineer to take responsibility over the most crucial projects).
If you promote that excellent employee, you risk losing an excellent employee and gaining a poor manager.Look for someone with strong managerial skills in the department to be the manager, an average employee may prove to be an amazing manager.
Look for those with strong management skills: strong interpersonal skills,
ability to motivate their co-workers, and understanding how to properly delegate work.
If you would like help to determine better employee selection methods or to learn more about the topic, contact Schamp & Associates for a free consultation.