Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Who should be promoted- Star Performer or Team Player?

Published in THE HINDU Opportunities on May 23rd, 2012 Link to online article Arun is the Head of Sales of a reputed consumer goods company and is faced with a challenging decision. It is that time of the year when he has to make his recommendation to his superior regarding promotions in his team. Kirti is a star performer in the group as he has excellent sales numbers for the year and consistently delivers quality work. Raj, on the other hand, has reasonable sales numbers and is known for being a team player, as he takes initiative; works well with challenging tasks and multiple personalities and is the key contributor for the group's success. As a manager, Arun is faced with making that critical decision. Who should be promote - the Star Performer or the Team Player? Most managers often face this kind of a dilemma and on a traditional approach, go with an impromptu decision to promote the star performer. The practice of promoting someone simply based on performance metrics needs to be looked at closely. At first glance, it seems that promoting the star performer seems to be reasonable, the logical choice. If they are hard-working and produce outstanding results in comparison to their peers, shouldn't they be rewarded with a higher position in the corporate ladder? Here are some tips on how managers can reassess their promotion practices in the workplace. Skills Appraisal Most managers take into account the employee's existing performance on the job and make this the sole deciding factor in promotion decisions. A star performer can be great at what he or she does, but do they have what it takes to succeed in the higher level position is a vital question that every manager can ask themselves before they arrive at a final decision. Hence, it is important to look beyond what the star performer has currently contributed and think about the skills they possess in order to make it to the next level. And, the same principle holds true for the team player, as well. Does your team player possess the skills and abilities to be able to expand to a senior position? This can best be gauged by a manager by appraising the incumbent's technical skills, interpersonal and soft skills, time management skills, analytical thinking and the ability to handle the responsibilities that come with the new role. Managing is not for all There are times when your star performer is content with their current role and isn't interested in getting promoted to being a manager. Managing is not for all and some star performers, in fact, prefer to be individual contributors or star employees working hard to deliver results, instead of dealing with administrative responsibilities and supervision aspects associated with a manager's position. The key is to find out if your star performer is motivated and challenged in his existing role and continue to reward them for their exemplary work with monetary benefits and also come up with innovative ways on developing a technical career path for them as opposed to grooming them for higher level management positions. In contrast, your team player who has already demonstrated his or her ability to work with multiple personalities and also pulls together the team towards project completion may have the leadership skills necessary to thrive with the manager's role. Think about your team As a manager, when you make a promotion decision, think about the effect it will have on the rest of your team. When a star performer gets promoted, it not only leaves the team with a void that is hard to fill, but also leaves the employee the awkward task of working over his peers, instead of working by their side. This may result in conflicting situations that may lead to poor morale and decreased productivity. Also, star performers often have a tendency to focus on themselves and are driven to prove and succeed as individuals shaping the company's financial growth. In comparison, when a team player gets promoted, he is more attuned to identifying and extorting the strengths of his peers and will be more adept at handling sensitive issues that arise from situations that will make a difference to the bottom line. Robert Hosking, executive director of Office Team says, “Being a strong individual contributor does not necessarily equate to being an effective leader. The most successful bosses excel at motivating others to achieve great results.” Lastly, keep in mind that a promotion decision within your team is in line with your company's culture and philosophy. The choice of promoting a team player over a star performer will send a message to the rest of your employees that you don't just value stellar performance, but also take into consideration other factors such as flexibility, the ability to work well with others and that as a team player you are vested in the company's success and not just trying to advance your own personal goals.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Assess people on conscientiousness to groom for managerial positions

Published in THE HINDU Opportunities on May, 16th, 2012 Link to the published article Employers in MNCs and corporate settings indicate that soft skills and personality traits are becoming integral to their hiring and training and development initiatives. In recent times, several companies are looking beyond educational qualification and experience to hire the best candidate for a job. HR and hiring managers evaluate candidates based on certain personality tests to decide if they can survive in the increasingly work driven environment. They also use these indicators to determine if existing people in the organisation can be groomed for promotions to managerial roles. Managers look for certain personality traits and attributes in their employees when they invest in training them for supervisory positions. It is also helpful for them to be aware of their own personality to develop themselves. This will help them grow as better employees and then help make the transition to become good managers. Here are some pointers on the traits that managers need to look for while grooming their staff for managerial roles. The “Conscientiousness” Factor According to research in human psychology, the Big Five Personality Theory discusses five factors based on which individuals respond differently to similar situations. HR professionals often use these traits to measure the personality of candidates when hiring or promoting them within the organisation. The Big Five traits are: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism (OCEAN). The topmost skill that managers need to evaluate and consider in their staff when thinking about developing an individual for managerial role is: conscientiousness. It is the employee's ability to be thorough in his work, reliable at all times, be organised, prompt and persevere in a given task even when faced with obstacles. By measuring people's assiduousness on the job, a manager can determine if they have that “conscientiousness” streak in them to be able to deliver quality job performance across a variety of roles. The Markings of a Conscientiousness Employee A conscientious employee is often characterised by their systematic approach to work and their resolute determination to keep at a given task. This particular attribute ensures their steady growth and success in the respective field. This is an employee who is usually entrusted to deliver an assignment on time as they are known for their prior planning and execution skills, rather than an impulsive nature to do something quickly. These employees may come as sticklers for rules within the organisation and are overachievers within their department. Specific traits of people with a high level of conscientiousness include: Reliable at all times Consistent in the quality of work Highly organised Thorough Punctual Career Progression and Conscientiousness Studies show that an employee's career graph is closely related to the test scores for conscientiousness when they are tested on a personality test or exam. A person with a high conscientiousness rating will have good attention to detail, strong organisational skills. He will combat against all obstacles to get the work done efficiently. This trait in individuals translates into work deliverables across a variety of positions and will be the distinguishing characteristic that sets an employee apart from the rest of the organisation when career growth occurs.