Tom was a brilliant barman, loved by customers and good at getting them to spend, so he was promoted to Bar Manager.
Sally was the best salesperson the estate agency ever had, so she was made Sales Manager.
Brian was the best technician in the garage, so they made him Works Manager.
The bar ended up losing loads of customers, as Tom was “out back” all the time checking stock and doing the books, and in the end he was sacked.
The estate agency also lost sales initially, and Sally never really mastered the art of teaching other people to do what she did naturally. She’s very unhappy.
Brian is off sick with stress. All he wanted to do was fix cars — he didn’t sign up for making decisions and bossing his mates around.
All three are true stories, and I can think of many more. Business owners are under constant pressure to promote their good people, and those people are under peer pressure to be seen working their way up the ladder. But what often happens is that the business loses it’s best barman / salesperson / technician and gains a crap manager.
There is another way.
If you recognise that not everyone is cut out to be a manager, then reward them better for what they aregood at. Don’t make Tom the bar manager — leave him out there where he’s confident and effective, but give him a big pay rise: “Tom, you’re doing a great job for us and I know you love it! We’re going to pay you 20% more, starting today!” If job title is important, make Sally a senior sales executive and pay her 20% more than everyone else.
Keep it simple, keep your staff and reward them well for excellence in their current roles.