5 Characteristics To Consider When Promoting

PromotingI’ve witnessed so many companies promote someone because they are good at what they do. This is usually the right thing to do, but not always…especially in sales roles. Having been in wireless for so many years I have watched as many of my co-workers have moved up the rankings (usually quite quickly) because they produce exceptional sales numbers (usually the highest in their area). However, ensuring the individual is right for a management position is a completely different story. I’ve heard the old saying “if you want to lose your best salesperson, then promote him to a manager” over and over again, and I’ve witnessed it almost as many times. However, this isn’t always the case.

Every person has different characteristics they look for in an employee to determine if they should be promoted, but here are five key characteristics I look for:

Ability & Willingness

Many employees I have managed and worked with either have the ability or willingness and they don’t generally exercise both, at least at the same time. Ability and willingness can correspond with many aspects of an individual’s job, such as learning new tasks and completing them correctly, or even learning a new sales pitch. An employee that is being considered for a promotion should consistently show her ability and willingness to accept change, to adhere to the rules of the organization, and to learn new tasks (or even sales pitches).


Does the employee know how to prioritize work that need / should be completed? She may have outstanding sales numbers, but does she run the appropriate reports on time? Does she prioritize her time to ensure all required tasks are completed by the due dates? Someone being considered for a promotion should be able to prioritize her time and tasks effectively.

Team Player

An employee being considered for management should be a team player; meaning, she should ‘play well with others’. A team player will ensure others obtain credit for their contributions, will pick up the slack where someone may not be able to fulfill their responsibilities, and will work with the team toward an end-goal.


Face it, we all make mistakes. This is just part of being human. A soon-to-be manager should be honest and be able to take responsibility for her actions and mistakes. Putting the blame on anyone else for her mistakes won’t help anyone; she’ll only hurt herself. In addition, being honest involves ensuring that all dealings with others in the organization and customers is authentic and trustworthy.

Ability to Communicate Effectively

An individual in a management position should be able to communicate effectively with superiors, co-workers, and employees. The ability to get ideas and instructions across to others in the organization in a clear manner is essential to creating a manager who succeeds. Her ability to help others understand what needs to be done will ensure that tasks are completed and goals are met.

There are many, many characteristics that can be reviewed to determine if someone should be promoted to a management position, but these are my five big one’s I look at. Additional characteristics, for me, depend on the individual, the position, and the level of management being considered. Some individuals are great as employees as they produce best at this level, but others are able to perform even better in a manager role.

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