HR Insights

Promoting Employees to Managers

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May 24, 2016

Do you have a superstar employee in your ranks? Congrats! Recruiting and keeping the best employees out there can be tricky. Rewarding top performers with management promotions can be one way to ensure great employees stick with you. But along with increased responsibilities comes the need for strong leadership skills. If you’re considering promoting an employee, make sure you’re setting everyone up for success.


Just because your all-star employee can knock to-do lists out of the park doesn’t mean he or she has management and leadership skills. Consider a test run by letting your potential leader head up a few team projects. Watch for these benchmarks:

  • Are they leading the way by setting a good example?
  • Do they delegate tasks well?
  • Can they cast vision and inspire others?
  • Are they cultivating a healthy team environment?
  • Is their team meeting and exceeding project goals?

Contributing to a group is very different than leading a team. Promoting an individual who can’t adapt would be a mistake for both the new manager and the team. 


Shifting into a management role can be jarring. When employees are promoted, they find themselves in a unfamiliar environment, surrounded by new faces and different expectations. Stay ahead of the learning curve by having a plan for training, just like you would any new hire. Make sure all duties and expectations are clearly addressed. 


Keep lines of communication wide open on all sides. Check in regularly with the new leader. Find out what’s working well for them and what’s not. And ask his/her team for their input as well. People are usually willing to talk openly if you provide a safe space and check in regularly.

Promoting employees doesn’t have to be complicated. Once you’ve identified your potential leader, a little training and guidance can set them up to do great work.