October 13, 2013

Paul's Promotion Argument

When reviewing my first entry, I realised that Paul’s argument on ‘nature’ and ‘training’ somehow contradicts with what he said in another lecture about job promotion. He argued that some companies promote people mainly based on their productivity, and ignored the fact that they may not be the best managerial material. This somehow means, from what I understood, that Paul think management ability is something that cannot be trained therefore choosing the right people is better than help someone to develop this skill/quality, and this contradicts with his argument on ‘you can become anyone you want’.

During the first lecture, Paul also argued that companies should not just kick out employees that are underperforming, but to help them grow. Yet I believe that promoting is also another way of helping employees to develop different skills. Most of the people are pushed by their ego, pride and greed, they either want a raise in salary or a promotion to be more respectful. This works as a motivation too. Therefore, if this is taken away from them, as they know that they will forever be put on the position they are on now, they may feel bored of what they do, and they may feel discouraged, and unwilling to give out the best performance.

Personally, I agree with Paul that someone great with what he does may not have the best management skills, but I still think promotion decisions should be based on employee’s performance and productivity, because this is only fair to some that work so much harder than his colleagues. Also, without the help of the performance records, who is to judge that whether this employee should be promoted but not that one? Obviously you cannot just base such decision on your sixth sense or your personal understanding towards the employees, it would not be fair or convincing. And promotion gives employees something to fight for and look forward to, right? :)


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  1. Paul Roberts

    Chenni, I am sorry if I misled you and others regarding the nature of promotion. I did not mean you to take from what I said that ability to deliver higher levels of responsibility that come with promotion cannot be developed or improved with training. However, I did say that I thought that promotion as a reward for good performance at the current job is a poor approach. Look at it this way—being good at a task does not necessarily mean that the person will be good at managing/leading people who also do this task. The two things require different skill sets and I have observed that promotion for being good at one’s job can often lead to misery on the part of the person who is promoted and the people whom he or she then manages.

    You may recall that I suggested that one of the tasks of leaders is to grow leaders. That is, spot the potential that people have for greater responsibility and help them grow to realize that potential. Promotion based on a person’s ability to take on the demands of the next level of responsibility is the only thing that makes sense to me. I am sure that if you ask around, you will find many people who have served under an incompetent boss, and the sad thing is that everyone loses—the person who has been inappropriately promoted, his or her subordinates and the organization in which they work.

    14 Oct 2013, 17:02


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