10 reasons newly promoted employees fail

Lack of preparation, coaching increase chances of failure

The recession has led to opportunity for some employees who have been promoted into new leadership positions, however, about one-half of these employees are at risk of failure because they haven't received adequate preparation for their new roles, according to a global executive search firm.

“Many companies have promoted employees after making layoffs without giving them the coaching and training they need. Some newly promoted employees have been unable to make the transition from being individual performers to managers. Others have been promoted to the next level without getting an opportunity to improve their management, motivational, team-building, and communications skills,” said Warren Lundy, partner of OI Partners-Feldman Daxon Partners in Toronto.

“In a good economy, about four out of 10 employees who are promoted usually don’t work out. But workers who were advanced to replace higher-salaried, laid-off colleagues are at a greater risk for failing in their new positions without receiving adequate preparation.”

Their failures could end up hurting their employers’ bottom lines and costing companies lost business due to declines in morale, productivity and customer relations, he said.

Lundy offers the following 10 reasons for why newly promoted employees fail in their jobs:

1. They do not know how to progress from being individual performers to managing others. They have not acquired the leadership skills they need to succeed.

2. They are unsure of exactly what their bosses expect them to accomplish. They are unclear about the two or three most important goals they need to attain.

3. They do not achieve desired results within an acceptable time frame. They don’t fulfill objectives within a deadline that can be as short as just three to six months, or don’t even realize what the deadline is.

4. They lack adequate skills to manage others. They may be first-time managers, or have never had their leadership capabilities assessed.

5. They are unable to motivate others and keep them fully engaged in their jobs. They don’t reach out to people and find out what will keep them interested in doing their jobs.

6. They have poor interpersonal skills. They may have such toxic management behaviors as being too critical, abrasive, unpredictable, self-centered, arrogant, close-minded or volatile.

7. They have bad verbal and written communications skills. Being able to communicate well both verbally and in written communications is an important foundation of good management.

8. They are not able to build good relationships with direct reports, colleagues, and other departments. They don’t enlist the support of subordinates and peers to build commitment to their strategies.

9. They fail to recognize contributions. Managers need to acknowledge the achievements of others and share their successes.

10. They do not determine and use the communications methods preferred by their bosses. They don’t find out whether their bosses prefer e-mails, weekly reports, lots of facts and figures, or just informal face-to-face meetings.

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