Aug 28, 2006

Developing People - whose job is it?

I was recently talking to a Director Operations of a BPO during my recent vacation. He was telling me how he and his fellow Directors were evaluating Managers to get promoted to Senior Manager positions, and in the 10 candidates they interviewed and assessed in detail, 9 were definite "no-nos".

And these were people who had worked for the firm for the last three years.

So their boss the MD asked them, "These 10 people have worked with you (3 Directors) over the last 3 years, and yet you feel none of them are ready for promotion?"

The Directors nodded "yep"

The MD then asked the question that really silenced them, "So whose fault is it?"

Then the Director told me "After that day we've been having discussions...and the whole thing is this pull between today's needs and tomorrow's needs. Today I need to concentrate on getting my SLAs and metrics perfect, so I end up telling my Managers what to do instead of letting them figure out, even though I know that's important for their growth to the next level"

So as a manager is that your dilemma too? How do you handle that?

And as a subordinate, can you realise if your supervisor is having the same dilemma? What can you do to help them? (Hint: Ask for a mentor/coach/cross-functional opportunity)

What organizations can do is publish what competencies are needed at various levels and therefore make it evident for people to take charge of their own development. Doing so would also ensure that levels exist because there is a need and not just to show promotions for the employees :-)