Are You Sitting on Good People?
Many managers just don’t want to believe this, but when a person wants a promotion or transfer (and that person is qualified) you don’t get to keep him in that role. Your real choice is between promoting him and losing him from the company.
If you’re currently doing this to someone, ask yourself this question, “If X were taken out of that role tomorrow (for whatever reason) would we throw up our hands and declare we can no longer function as a department?” Of course not. You and your team would figure it out. This demonstrates that if you were sufficiently motivated you could function without him. The employee knows this. He knows that if you cared enough about him you could give him that transfer or promotion.
Perhaps this has happened (or is happening) to you. How did it feel? Did you feel like you were being punished for great performance? What did it do for your morale and engagement?
You might say, “Right now I really don’t have a viable replacement for him.” Okay, that’s a common situation. But instead of merely allowing the situation to continue, make a plan. Show this person the light at the end of the tunnel. Show him that you are willing to deal with the inconvenience (to you!) associated with allowing him to move on in his career.
Be aware that other employees are paying close attention to your actions. Whatever you choose to do, you’re sending the message that this is the kind of support they’ll get when they’re ready to move on.
If you hold people back, high potential people will avoid your team. If you earn a reputation for helping people grow and progress in their careers, you’ll attract more high potential people.
As always, thanks for reading. I’d love to hear your perspective on this topic.
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