How many times during your career has someone that you are working for “implied” that there is a promotion just around the corner? You know, you are having a discussion about your work and out of the blue your boss says, have you ever thought about doing “insert new job here”. Or maybe you have scheduled a meeting with your boss to explain to him/her that you have more to offer the company, and they listen intently, all along giving you the impression that they might actually make this happen for you.
Well, lets all take a giant step back from the wishing well.
Please don’t think that I am out to kill initiative, drive or those who are intent on climbing the corporate ladder. Keep climbing! Good things come to those who wait, and prepare and most of all focus on their current job without getting ahead of themselves and doing the “next” job. What I am trying to say, mostly to managers is BE CAREFUL. Be careful not to offer promotions to people by implication. If you are concerned about people leaving and how this might impact your teams ability to accomplish its goals, or your ability to accomplish your goals stop and consider the impact you will have on someone by letting them think they are about to be promoted.
If you are planning an organizational change, either to a single role or to an entire group do not discuss it with people in advance. Try not to create in their minds a sense of a promise of promotion. It is very unfair to do this to people. When it comes to the future, we all want to know what is next. I have met very few people who were not concerned about tomorrow. When it comes to ourselves, it is easy to create a fantastic future where wonderful things happen, where there are promotions, and incredible opportunities. It is ok to dream, but lets be careful when, as managers, we are interacting with people. Listen to what you say and how you say it, think about what you are saying from the perspective of the person who is listening. What ever you do , do not discuss even the remote possibility of a change in their role without knowing that you have authority to do
so. As managers we have a responsibility to ensure that everything is aligned and approved before we communicate.
When you communicate about an organizational change, be clear, meaningful and purpose driven. Don’t be premature, don’t be temped to use the promise of promotion.