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Ten Guidelines in Employee Promotion

Ten Guidelines in Employee Promotion

As one of the training consultants in the Philippines, it’s always been my personal mission to help produce awesome leaders and managers who are not only deserving of their positions but also embody a balance among cognitive skills, competencies, and character.

Whoever goes up the corporate ladder is highly-dependent on the ‘promoter’ or the decision-maker’s ability to spot the right person and move him up to the very critical position of supervising people and their tasks.

If the one who promotes doesn’t know how, when, and why to promote people, those who assume leadership and/or managerial posts end up not serving their purpose well or not deserving their highly-coveted positions to begin with.

Below are ten guidelines by which decision-makers identify who gets up and who doesn’t.

Ten Guidelines in Promoting Employees to Higher Posts

1. Never promote someone JUST because you’re close.

Being a leader is a very critical and delicate responsibility. If you promote people to a higher post just because you’re good friends with them or you used to be close when you were on the same level, you’re leaving it to the assumption that they’ll probably do just as well because of the premise that ‘birds of the same feather flock together’.

2. Never promote someone JUST because you’re exchanging favors and evening out.

Never pledge promotion as a collateral for favors done or calling it even with a person to whom you owe a debt of gratitude. The success of your team, department, or even the organization is at stake and unless you own the company, never put anyone or anything in peril just because you want to honor your words.

3. Never promote someone JUST because he/she’s already been in the company for a long time and as pity.

People stay on the rank-and-file level for different reasons. It’s either their choice to stay where they are because they’re happy, contented, and satisfied with who they are and what they have, they’re afraid of roles and responsibilities that accompany a higher-level position, or they’re not at a point that they already deserve to go up a notch.

Never feel pity for someone who has been with the company since its inception or who has been rubbing elbows with the founders and the top executives and yet hasn’t been promoted yet. There are multiple reasons why they stay where they are.

4. Never promote someone JUST because he/she graduated from the so-called ‘top schools’. There’s no correlation between a person’s school and his/her leadership capabilities.

Not because an employee graduated from Harvard University or University of the Philippines that he could be the perfect leader. A person’s school has nothing to do with whether he can be an effective leader or not. Please don’t consider this prejudging or stereotyping but, at times, people who graduate from a top school think too highly of themselves that they assume they know it all, others should bow down to them, or that the quality of education in their institution automatically translates to effectiveness, efficiency, productivity, or worthiness as a supervisor or manager.

5. Never promote someone as a form of a gift.

More often than not, people leave their bosses and not the company. If someone got promoted just because the post was given as a gift, what can possibly happen to the people on that team or the entire team in general?

6. Never promote someone JUST because he/she’s the best at the previous level. There’s a big difference between a performing employee and a potentially-great leader and the former can’t automatically be the latter.

Being a rank-and-file or a senior employee is still very different from being a supervisor or a manager. Just take a look at their job descriptions. While there’s an assumption that a top or performing employee achieved what he has achieved because of his passion for excellence, industry, competence, determination, dedication, focus, discipline, and all the other positive values and traits you can think of that are needed from leaders/managers as well, assess and decide carefully.

Study the cognitive skills, competencies, and character required for the next position and if there’s a fit or a match, why not? Otherwise, don’t let this be the sole reference for promotions.

7. Never promote someone who has never proved him/herself to be worthy of the position.

Promoting someone to leadership positions requires observing whether this person has demonstrated all the necessary knowledge, skills, attitude, environment factors, motivation and inspiration level, and job-person fit to be an ideal leader even if he’s not there yet.

If a person displays tendencies and behaviors unbecoming of a leader/manager, you might want to think again.

8. Never promote someone from the outside when there is someone as deserving, if not more, from the inside. Prioritize your own.

One of the common shortcomings of decision-makers nowadays is that they look for candidates for a higher position outside when there are deserving candidates within the organization. Come to think of it. What’s the use of training and developing people inside when we would search for people to assume leadership positions outside. I find that alarmingly stupid.

Unless nobody’s deserving and capable inside, prioritize your associates on your team or probably from some other team. Just make it your last resort to get somebody from `outside.

9. Never promote on COGNITIVE SKILLS and COMPETENCIES alone. Include CHARACTER.

The bases for finding the best leader or manager are mind, body, and soul meaning what one knows about leadership, how well he can execute the role, and whether he has the heart for people and their future. If a candidate doesn’t have all these components or misses one or two, he may not be ready for bigger challenges yet and may need more learning, exposure, guidance, and development.

10. Never promote someone who’s infamous for having no people and social skills. The role is going to be to lead people and manage people’s tasks so move someone up who has a balance between charisma and positive control.

To lead is to be in charge of people. To manage, on the other hand, is to have control of people’s tasks. Well, at least in leadership and management perspectives. One thing is clear though. Be it leading or managing, both require dealing with people.

If a candidate doesn’t get along well with others and can’t make them follow or look up to him, he’s not the right person. He still needs to understand and appreciate that great leadership and management thrive in and are anchored on effective communication and a harmonious relationship with others. A leader should be charismatic, compassionate, assertive, communicative, a role model, educating, equipping, encouraging, engaging, empowering, and entertaining.

Therefore, if a person, doesn’t possess these people skills, more training and nurturing need to be done to prepare him for the enjoyable but crucial role of becoming a leader.

Putting things in perspective…

If you are grooming someone to be a leader or a manager or assessing candidates for a vacancy, make sure that you factor in all ten of these guidelines in promoting people.

Remember, one of the measures of a great leader is how many people you develop to become as great a leader as you are. Therefore, let’s be picky and thorough with determining who these people are. The future of the organization and the people in it very much depend on them.


If you would like to convert this good read into an in-house corporate training on leadership and management or succession planning, just get in touch with the author, Mr. Myron Sta. Ana at (02) 919-2734 or

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