When touring different manufacturing businesses and during the early stages of working with our clients we often see gaps in their leaders. One of the main reasons we observe these gaps is because leaders have been promoted for the wrong reasons.

A Careerbuilder survey of over 2,000 U.S. employers and 4,000 employees revealed that 58% of managers had not received any leadership training. The study also found that 26% of these leaders admitted that they were not ready to take on these roles at the time.

Employees surveyed revealed that the main concerns were lack of feedback, not listening to their concerns, and lack of follow through.

Here are 5 reasons manufacturers should avoid promoting specific employees in leadership roles:

1. Technical Skills – There are many employees that display a high level of proficiency at a role. I am referring to roles that require technical skills, such as engineering, production, quality, accounting, etc.  I often see excitement in their managers because these employees are such good producers. This excitement and the thought “If you are good at this, you should supervise everyone doing this job” leads them to promote the employee. Remember, technical skills and leadership skills are vastly different. You may be putting your employee in an uncomfortable position and may risk losing a valuable asset.

2. Tenure – When employees remain with an organization for several years, we often find that these employees develop an expectation of being promoted due to their time with the company. Furthermore, some manufacturing leaders cave into this expectation and recognize tenure with the company as one of the reasons to consider for a leadership role promotion. Leaders should never allow themselves to consider tenure solely as a path to leadership.

These first two reasons are a reflection of the employee’s work ethic and competence. Nonetheless, they are often misjudged by the hiring manager as considerations for a leadership position. Next week we will turn our focus towards reasons more reflective of the hiring manager’s perception of the leader’s character.

If you have concerns about the leaders in your team and would like to discuss your situation, please schedule a call.

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