What’s been your experience with individual contributors moving into management roles?

SmartPulse -- our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership -- tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

What’s been your experience with individual contributors moving into management roles?

  • I’ve always seen it work out great: 4%
  • Sometimes it works well; other times, not so much: 85%
  • Usually it’s been a disaster: 12%

Set them up to succeed. Promoting an individual contributor to a manager role often seems like a good idea. The person does great work in their area of expertise and is respected by their peers for their competency. You have to realize, though, that managing is a completely different skill set than their individual contributor work. Set the person up to succeed. First, confirm they even want a manager role (not everyone does). Next, get them training and on-the-job opportunities to learn management skills. Find them a mentor. Give them additional coaching. And most important – do ALL of this BEFORE you put them in the role. A little bit of preparation over a few months can keep that promotion from going sideways and turning into a disaster.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He's the author of three leadership books: "One Piece of Paper," "Lead Inside the Box" and "The Elegant Pitch."