How to promote from within

This is something Michael Page is familiar with – we’ve grown our business organically since 1976 and 88% of our leaders were promoted from within. But spotting a manager in the ranks isn’t always easy, and after you’ve made the promotion it might not always be plain sailing...

What to look for

Every member of your team will experience some professional development while they’re at work, but if you’re in a senior leadership position, you’ve probably noticed that some have qualities that others lack. If you’re looking to make an internal promotion there are certain attributes you should be looking for in your next manager:
  • Leadership
    This is essential for anyone in a managerial position. Look out for the way they handle others in their team and how proactive they are in their role.
  • Communication
    The nature of senior positions means that they must be able to clearly communicate objectives to their team.
  • Problem solving abilities
    If a member of the team encounters a problem, they should be able to approach their line manager for guidance. Managers must be able to look at a situation objectively and decide on the best approach to resolving the issue.
  • Organisation
    Even with plenty of assistance, it’s essential that anyone in a managerial position can keep up to date with projects and delegate tasks to their team, and this requires good organisation.
  • Teamwork
    They should be able to continue working as part of a team, even if their new role means they now mainly delegate.
  • Decision making abilities
    If a manager can’t make the final call then who will?
If you’ve already got someone in mind for a promotion then it’s important you weigh up these skills before giving them a more senior role. A good test of someone’s managerial aptitude is giving them some of your responsibilities while you’re out of the office. You can get feedback from them and the rest of the team afterwards to see how they did.

Why promote from within?

Because the candidate already works for the business, you’ll be familiar with their strengths and weaknesses. However, it’s still a good idea to conduct an interview with each candidate – someone you might have previously discounted could end up surprising you.
Only promote from within if you’re going to supply the support afterwards too. If you don’t already have one, think about implementing a mentor scheme to give your new manager some guidance for their first few weeks to let them get to grips with the new role.
Bear in mind that not all employees who excel at their job are suitable for a promotion into a managerial role, take a look at the external market too in case there is a more appropriate candidate out there.
For more employer advice, take a look at the other articles in our employer centre.