Learning & Development

The Manager’s Role in the Promotion of Subordinates

In most organizations, managers wear many hats; of course, they need to manage their teams, but many also have nonmanagerial duties, such as working on projects or championing company initiatives. It’s becoming increasingly expected that managers also serve as coaches for their teams. Although the manager-as-coach paradigm is relatively new, interest in that role has grown dramatically among companies in recent years.

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Working Themselves Out of a Job

It’s easy to see why. Modern companies increasingly derive value and create new value primarily from their human resources rather than machinery and factories. Therefore, any opportunity to continually and effectively develop talent is given keen interest.

And although it might seem counterintuitive, managers should also play a key role in the promotion of their subordinates. But if a manager’s subordinate is promoted, doesn’t that mean the manager is out of a job? After all, a subordinate’s next level up in the organizational hierarchy is the manager role. But subordinates’ promotion does not necessarily spell disaster for their managers; it often means a promotion opportunity for the managers themselves.

You Won’t Move Up if They Don’t!

For one, managers who can develop their staff into talent that’s ready for promotion are valuable commodities. This means the success of managers’ teams reflects directly and positively on the managers themselves. Additionally, a promotion doesn’t need to be to the existing manager’s position or even within the same team or group.

On a more practical level, an obstacle many companies face after an employee’s promotion is having to replace the individual. Some employees might see this as a positive because it signifies job security, but job security can be a double-edged sword.

Paving the Way for Your Replacement

If a company needs an employee to be in a specific role because that employee is the only one who can do the job, the company doesn’t have the option to move the employee to a new position he or she might be interested in, including a promotion. But if a manager does a great job developing his or her team, there will be options executives can choose from when the manager is up for a promotion.

Managers are already busy with managing teams and performing other essential tasks, but they are increasingly being expected to act as coaches and talent developers, which often includes setting subordinates up for promotions. Managers who can groom their staff for advancement are often seen as prime candidates for advancement themselves, in part because the success of a manager’s team is a direct reflection of the success of the manager.