Sinking or Swimming After a Promotion?

Sinking or Swimming After a Promotion?

It’s a common story- Jane was great at her job– a quick learner eager to do more. So you gave her more– a whole lot more. But now she seems overwhelmed, unsure, and downright frazzled.

Will she start swimming and get her head back above water?

It depends—does she lack easily trainable skills or is the gap due to a mismatch of personality or competency?
The first step when you encounter the aftermath of a well-meaning major assignment or promotion is to chat with Jane. Where does she think she is struggling? Is there a specific area you can pinpoint where a bit of support or coaching would help?

Let’s say you promoted Jane to a team leader for her customer service group, and her tasks now include scheduling 10 reps across two shifts, weekly reports for the manager, and handling escalated calls. This is in addition to continuing to work as a customer service rep.

Option 1- Time and Training will work

As an example of a quick fix- Jane A explains that she is still learning the scheduling software and this is taking several more hours for her to complete the weekly schedule. This has caused her to finish the weekly department report late. She anticipates that she will be on track in a week or two, as she is quickly mastering this complicated tool. You suggest that she has the manager spends a few minutes showing her how he uses shortcuts to expedite that task. After two weeks she is indeed on top of the new assignment’s and on time.

Option 2- Re-evaluate Job Fit and Duties

On the other hand, Jane B seems to be avoiding the weekly reports in favor of taking customer calls. She reports that she has not “had time” to train on the scheduling module. Last week she hastily put together on an incomplete schedule that didn’t provide enough coverage during peak hours. The first two weeks her weekly reports were 5 days late and missing key data. In your conversations, it seems that Jane may lack the planning and organizing competency that these new tasks require to be effective. To be fair, you ask her manager to give her a bit more training on how to do those tasks, to see if training will be the answer. But if she does not start making improvements in a few weeks, you might conclude the pattern of job fit is at work.

Want to learn more?
Find out how about how to identify the three main reasons someone isn’t keeping up (gap in ability, motivation or values) in our webinar “Evaluating Your Current Team for Job Fit.”
See our current webinar schedule and register here: People Plan Webinars

Image Courtesy of