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Why Management Positions Shouldn't Be Associated With Promotions

Updated: Jun 6, 2023

Can we all agree to stop using management positions as a promotional tool?

Managing people is a complicated, people-centric job. It's a position that should be held by someone who likes communication, structure, mentoring, and and problem solving.

It should not be held by someone who dislikes interactions with people. Simple, yes?

Unfortunately, we continue to move people into management roles simply because they've been there the longest or are the best at their particular job. We use management as the promotional lever regardless of the employees natural strengths or preferences.

A person's feet stands between tradition and progress in two opposing arrows.

Repeat after me.

Some star employees just aren't meant to be managers - and that's OK!

Heck, it's more than OK. It's great!

It takes all kinds to build a company and pulling people away from their strengths just to give them a title that's historically been associated with success is a horrible business decision. If given the choice, many people would opt out of management, if it meant they would still be given a promotion.

I know what you're thinking. "But Jill - how else is Bob supposed to advance in his career, if he can't be a manager?! Who is going to manage the team?!"

This is the best part of the whole thing. YOU get to decide how people move around in your company! No one is holding you to old, passed-down traditions.

Make Bob the head designer, without any management responsibilities. Give him a raise and let him dive deeper into the client work he loves, but don't put him in charge of people. It's that simple.

Instead, hire Joel to manage the team. Joel absolutely loves interacting with people and is a naturally charismatic and empathetic human. Joel is no where near as advanced in his career as Bob, but for fun he reads books on human behavior, employee engagement, and project management styles. Joel is passionate about helping people become their best selves and happily does weekly check-ins to see how the team is feeling.

Bob is happy to keep designing at his new higher salary, while Joel is thrilled to be working with the team on a daily basis.

It's a win-win.

And isn't that always what you're striving for in business?

To happier employees,



Want to learn how to build an intentional employee experience at your company? Learn from the Want to Work There Podcast

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