Do NOT promote B players

I read an interesting article in a HR e-zine this morning that made the argument to not to hire B or C grade people into a management team. The article caught my eye because of the provocative nature of the argument presented. I completely agree that hiring a B player into management is simply a bad idea. But what of promoting a B player from within?To answer this question we have to look at the situation a bit more carefully. Afterall I would counsel that you NEVER hire a B player at all for any position. Look for stars always and every time.

Lets face it we live in the real world where there are people in our organization and not all of them are “A” players despite our best efforts. We inherit people from a previous manager with different performance measurement criteria, some people’s life goals change and work is not their priority and on it goes.

It is critical that in rating an employee we consider that the rating in their current role is different than in a management role. While some attributes overlap many do not. When considering who might be an “A” manager be certain that you evaluate the right criteria. A partial list should include; motivation, initiative, integrity, communication ability, leadership skill and management skill. Many of these factors may not be considered at the individual contributor level thereby making the judgment more difficult.

If you want to be certain do what leaders do. Give potential “A” players opportunities to shine long before the selection process takes place. Ask them to lead projects outside their normal duties, encourage them to find a mentor, suggest they take on a volunteer leadership role etc.

As you invest in your team and begin to see who has the drive and ability to lead in areas outside their normal framework you will soon discover who your next “A” manager should be. 

Lead well


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