Ken Keller: Which person do I promote?

By Signal Contributor

Last update: Saturday, October 1st, 2016

Dear Ken Keller,

I’ve got two employees that appear to be ready to be promoted into management. Do you have any thoughts on how I might decide which one is more likely to be a success? – Brian R.

Dear Brian:

As a young employee, I originally thought that an individual who was a great contributor was most likely to become a superstar manager because they had mastered the technical aspects of a job and the other parts of management could be picked up along the way. That idealism came to an end when I worked for a guy who was a jerk once he was promoted to being a manager.

The best advice I can provide to you was recently highlighted by a good friend of mine, Dave Baney, who writes a weekly missive on business and posts his columns on 55Questions.com. He shared this with me and his readers:

It is essential to identify the signs that an employee is ready to be promoted to a management position …

  1. They always exceed expectations: An employee that always goes above and beyond is a stand out. If these types of employees aren’t recognized they will seek employment elsewhere.
  2. They’re always accountable for their mistakes: This employee will take accountability if a deadline is missed usually asking how they could have handled it better and making a move it fix it.
  3. Helps teammates: This employee is willing to take a shift when needed, goes the extra mile and stays late to help the team finish the project regardless of any their after-work plans.
  4. Uses “us” and “we” instead of “I” and “me”: A character of a good manager is they always have a team mentality. This quality might be present on their first day, but it’s also something that can develop over time. Keep your eyes open for it!
  5. Solution identifier: A good potential manager is good at recognizing potential problems and immediately starts to find a solution.
  6. Already a manager but doesn’t know it: If you have an employee that helps with just about everything … including customer service, marketing, sales, administration, budgetary duties, new hire training, etc., they already have a hand in several processes necessary to run the company. They take pride in all they do and are very liked and trusted among all your staff.

I believe these are excellent standards to measure your two candidates against and you can likely use them for assessing your employees for future opportunities in management.

Dear Ken Keller,

I have been reading your columns for a long time and I appreciate the advice. Can you please share with me what you consider to be the best advice you can provide a business owner in 25 words or less? – Freddy G.

Dear Freddy,

Thanks for enjoying the column. If I had just one thing to share with a business owner, I would ask: Do you have a written plan for success and are you following through with it?

Most owners don’t have a written plan; fail to follow through and then wonder why they aren’t more successful. Fail to plan; plan to fail.

Ken Keller is a syndicated business columnist focused on the leadership needs of small and midsize closely held companies. Contact him at KenKeller@SBCglobal.net. Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of this media outlet.

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Ken Keller: Which person do I promote?

Dear Ken Keller,

I’ve got two employees that appear to be ready to be promoted into management. Do you have any thoughts on how I might decide which one is more likely to be a success? – Brian R.

Dear Brian:

As a young employee, I originally thought that an individual who was a great contributor was most likely to become a superstar manager because they had mastered the technical aspects of a job and the other parts of management could be picked up along the way. That idealism came to an end when I worked for a guy who was a jerk once he was promoted to being a manager.

The best advice I can provide to you was recently highlighted by a good friend of mine, Dave Baney, who writes a weekly missive on business and posts his columns on 55Questions.com. He shared this with me and his readers:

It is essential to identify the signs that an employee is ready to be promoted to a management position …

  1. They always exceed expectations: An employee that always goes above and beyond is a stand out. If these types of employees aren’t recognized they will seek employment elsewhere.
  2. They’re always accountable for their mistakes: This employee will take accountability if a deadline is missed usually asking how they could have handled it better and making a move it fix it.
  3. Helps teammates: This employee is willing to take a shift when needed, goes the extra mile and stays late to help the team finish the project regardless of any their after-work plans.
  4. Uses “us” and “we” instead of “I” and “me”: A character of a good manager is they always have a team mentality. This quality might be present on their first day, but it’s also something that can develop over time. Keep your eyes open for it!
  5. Solution identifier: A good potential manager is good at recognizing potential problems and immediately starts to find a solution.
  6. Already a manager but doesn’t know it: If you have an employee that helps with just about everything … including customer service, marketing, sales, administration, budgetary duties, new hire training, etc., they already have a hand in several processes necessary to run the company. They take pride in all they do and are very liked and trusted among all your staff.

I believe these are excellent standards to measure your two candidates against and you can likely use them for assessing your employees for future opportunities in management.

Dear Ken Keller,

I have been reading your columns for a long time and I appreciate the advice. Can you please share with me what you consider to be the best advice you can provide a business owner in 25 words or less? – Freddy G.

Dear Freddy,

Thanks for enjoying the column. If I had just one thing to share with a business owner, I would ask: Do you have a written plan for success and are you following through with it?

Most owners don’t have a written plan; fail to follow through and then wonder why they aren’t more successful. Fail to plan; plan to fail.

Ken Keller is a syndicated business columnist focused on the leadership needs of small and midsize closely held companies. Contact him at KenKeller@SBCglobal.net. Keller’s column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of this media outlet.

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Signal Contributor

Signal Contributor

  • Dude if you don’t know who to promote then you shouldn’t be in business. Clearly whoever has more time in should get first shot, but if he fails then he must be demoted and the other employee put in his place.

    OR be original and put both in and have them work together as a team and watch your company grow