When your employees are thriving, you might find it difficult to send them up the ladder. You’ve invested time in their growth, the team is benefitting from their initiative, plus finding and training someone to fill their role is a time-intensive risk.
Still: there’s no excuse for hoarding employees that express interest in and show promise for a promotion. If you have the opportunity to sponsor someone to fill a higher-level vacancy, seize it. Doing so is in the best interest of you both.
Management = Empowering Mobility
As a manager, you understand the importance of training and trusting your team. Because your employees’ deliverables ultimately fall back on you (for better or worse), you likely spend far more time training and advising up front before you can back away and trust new team members to soar.
When you do reach that trust phase, it is incredibly rewarding. You can breathe a sigh of relief and refocus your energy on big picture initiatives for the org and your own personal brand and career goals. Especially if you’ve built a strong team over time that is virtually autonomous (kudos to you), it’s easy to get greedy with that comfort and feel hesitant about encouraging mobility.
However, the easiest way to compromise your reputation as a manager is to hold on to your employees for too long.
The fact of the matter is: management isn’t just about creating a strong team. It’s about fostering internal growth to build a stronger org. When you don’t advocate for members of your team to take on leadership themselves, you send a signal to higher-ups that you either don’t have the interest of the org in mind, or you haven’t done your job as a manager to inspire and train future leaders.
Curate the Org You Want to Work At
Knowing who to promote, when they are ready, and where they will thrive comes with investing time in knowing each employee’s personal brand: what are her strengths, and what is she passionate about?
When you understand your employees holistically for their skills, their potential, and their career goals, you can easily envision where they might grow, thrive, and best serve the org long-term.
Being invested in your team members as individuals is not only a noteworthy asset of a strong manager; it also helps prevent attrition. Burnout is a plague to companies, and it almost always falls at the feet of leadership to take responsibility.
When people are happy with their work and feel appreciated for it, they stay. It’s usually that simple. However, dedicated employees who have the aptitude to increase their responsibilities can just as easily burn out from boredom or lack of acknowledgement as someone who is overworked.
You have the power as a member of management to tap talent that you trust and ultimately curate the next generation of decision-makers at your org.
A strong, motivated pipeline of talent means a more resilient, united org, and creating that kind of workplace culture begins with investing in entry- and mid-level employees.
Promote, Get Promoted (or At Least Increase Your Chances)
Advocacy is an integral element of effective leadership. When you build your own personal brand as an attuned advocate for your team (and the org at large), you’ll more than likely find yourself moving up the ladder as well.
As you advocate for your employees’ promotions (and they successfully assume more senior roles), executives will come to trust your instinct and your opinion. Building demonstrated success at training, motivating, and ultimately retaining talent also sends the message that you’re thinking about the bigger picture, more-so than your own personal conveniences.
Everyone understands the strife of disrupting a functional team, but again: milling out top talent for the sake of the org is a community/longevity-minded move. The alternative is losing that top talent to competitors or alternative industries because you couldn’t (or didn’t know how to) ramp your employees’ engines.
Bottom line: get to know your team on a personal level, and then share what makes them an asset with your org. Even if they don’t land each promotion you advocate for, managers who are passionate about their employees’ growth are well-known and respected throughout the org.
Are you a manager with 7 or fewer years of experience? Then you might be the perfect fit for our Manager Essentials bootcamp. Learn a growth mindset, gain practical tools to receive (and deliver) feedback, gain tips on how to be a coach for your team, and dive into success habits for delegating meaningfully and practically. Find out more here.