When a management position becomes vacant, often the natural tendency is to look within the business to fill the position.

However, promoting people is not always as simple as choosing your best performer and moving them up the food chain.

In fact, 40% of internal job moves made by people identified by companies as high potentials end in failure.

Many businesses are guilty of promoting a successful person in one role to a position of incompetence in another role. Not only does the company gain a poor manager, they also lose one of their most effective and reliable staff in the process.

Often we find that the people promoted to management level are highly skilled at a particular role, such as analysts, technicians, or salespeople.

If you consider the traits of a great technician from a personality profile perspective, they differ significantly to the traits and characteristics commonly associated with great managers.

Promoting salespeople can be even more risky to your bottom line. The top performing salesperson is driven by an internal motivation to get a ‘yes’ from other people – at Caliper we call that Ego-Drive. Ego-Drive is the motivational ‘rocket fuel’ in sales, and is sometimes referred to as the ‘X Factor’ that the best salespeople possess.

Take that person out of the fray, and ask them to satisfy that internal motivation, but this time through their direct reports, and you might find yourself with a very frustrated and impatient manager.

The question to ask yourself before promoting anyone in business is whether they possess the skills and attributes necessary for top performance in a management role. Yes you may want to reward them, but carefully consider whether a new role is an actual reward, or potentially a long term punishment.

A wrongly promoted employee is likely to find far less enjoyment in their daily work life, and potentially ‘burn out’ over time if they’re ill-suited to the role.

Managers need to seriously examine why individuals in their organisation are selected for promotion, and whether those reasons are good ones. In other words, companies must ask if the employee has the necessary traits and characteristics, or ‘hard-wiring’ for the job that they have been identified for.

The Caliper Profile is used extensively across many industries to identify employees that are apt to ‘step up’ and perform a management role.

Make sure that you’re promoting the right people not by how they’re performing in their current role, but by objective evaluation of their potential to perform in the new role.