QUESTION: It is always good to be promoted.
FACT: It might sometimes trap you in a position for which you never bargained.
Sometimes, promotion does trap people. Organizational structures and job functions are created depending upon a company’s requirement and not on that of any individual only in a few cases where the person’s exit might prove to be painful does an organization create a position to satisfy him; but such a decision might also be tactical, not strategic. Individuals are chosen based on their skills to carry out a particular job. There are some bright people who might be doing a great job in their current role and who possess the right skill to move up. However, they do not realize that they might be better off if they applied their skills in another area in the same company or in starting their own company or even taking up a job in another industry altogether. They fear that such moves might fail and so do not make that venture. And then there are those who want quick results and so do not make the right move. A good manager can sense the unique skills of a particular employee and discuss internal opportunities with him. This puts the employee in a dilemma, forcing him to choose the easy option of taking up a promotion within the company itself. By accepting such a promotion, he will end up getting trapped in the vicious circle of growing up in a hierarchy and will never be able to realize his full potential.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE EMPLOYEE? Everyone deserves a career designed and crafted by himself and not by an organization. Therefore, it would be wise to pick up the job that fully exploits your skills and helps in meeting with your aspirations. Most of the time, people opt for the tried-and-tested avenue, the safe route. Yes, sometimes, the decision of not taking the best option but sticking to the current one, is driven by financial, personal or time-based limitations, leading to a compromise. Many individuals do not have the appetite for high-risk decisions at certain times in their work life. Of course, there is no harm in taking up a promotion—even if it’s a, trap—as that will provide new learning, but you have got to be always vigilant that this does not turn you from your self-designed career plan.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AS THE MANAGER? There is nothing much a manager can do here as it is purely the employee’s decision to take the promotion or not. You can help in clearing doubts and clarifying the role and responsibility, but the final decision rests with the employee.