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Promotions and job fit

Posted by Meg Bear on August 31, 2009


200915795_801b42a1fcSo often I see managers and employees confusing promotion with recognition.  This is a real shame, as often this doesn’t work out well for anyone.

Job recognition should come from your performance review and ideally as part of regular and continuous feedback you get from your boss, your peers and others that you work with.

Too often life imitates art and managers wanting to keep someone happy,  will grant a promotion with little or no consideration to the job fit question.  Promotion involves taking on a bigger or new role and should only be done if that role is a good progression for the individual.

I’ve seen a lot of cases where this is not done well and everyone can be hurt as a result.

The most frequent promotion blunder, is putting someone in a management role when this is not a good fit for their skills.  This puts not only the individual in a tough spot, but it also impacts those unfortunate individuals who are now reporting to someone who does not understand what the job requires.  Moving into a manager role is not a path to individual recognition, but rather a complete shift in the job skills, values and priorities.

I’m growing into the belief that we need to find better and more effective ways to recognize people vs. putting so much pressure on the promotion process.

Promotion should not be the individual  goal, job fit should be the goal.

If we do a better job identifying the roles that fit us and how we can best contribute, then it is much more clear when a promotion would be needed.  A promotion is really only then needed when you outgrow your current job.  Nothing more.

If you are not getting the right kind of challenges in your role, you need a different one.  If you are succeeding at your current role and are not bored or feeling underutilized you should consider this a great job fit and celebrate your own professional nirvana.

I think the message I learned at my first yoga class fits here precisely, you are not here to compete with anyone, not even yourself.

The sooner we focus on getting our job fit right, the happier and more successful we will be.

So the next time you talk to your boss about your role, I suggest you focus the conversation on job fit.  If that takes you both to the topic of promotion then so be it, but if not, hopefully it will lead to more job satisfaction and success.

5 Responses to “Promotions and job fit”

  1. […] Promotions and job fit […]

  2. […] “Job Fit Should be the Goal” I read an awesome post over on TalentedApps called Promotions and Job Fit. […]

  3. But you have to admit sometimes, promotion is a type of recognition in one’s efforts. an employee working hard to produce better and more creative results will be demoralized if the promotion he or she expected goes to some else which in most cases are not qualified. the trick is to keep most of the employees happy as the opposite will damage your business.

    • Meg Bear said

      Yes I do understand this and it is a problem that went wrong at the expectation setting phase. In your example a problem is compounded by putting someone who is not best qualified for the role into the open position. That just confirms the lack of trust from the employee in the manager’s judgement and leadership.

      I agree you want to keep employees happy but I don’t think you do that by doing what the want, instead I think you do that by being a strong leader and helping them achieve greatness. That might (or might not) require a promotion.

      Thanks for leaving a comment (and I apologize that I can’t type your name).

      -Meg

  4. […] I read an awesome post over on TalentedApps called Promotions and Job Fit. […]

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