For people aspiring to work their way up to senior positions within their organizations should look for alternative routes to management roles, stressed Sarah Sandbrook, the HR director of IT firm T-Systems. According to her, people often move to management because they deem it as the only path for career progression.
Management isnt for everyone
Sandbrook noted that several managers are not performing adequately simply because their management role does not suit them. She then went to point to other senior roles for individuals who possess specific skills: "People need to know that there are other senior ’knowledge roles’ for those with other abilities – such as technical skills – that offer progression within a company while playing to people’s strengths."
Management experts claim that management is a skill that can be developed through training but its also true that certain individuals are inherently better at managing than others. But management is definitely not for everyone and even if proper training is provided, it cannot guarantee the rise of a great leader. Every employee has their own values, motivations, strengths and weaknesses, and if they are promoted to a role that they are not suited to, they run the risk to become ineffective, which can damage their career prospects and their company as a whole.
HR plays a key role in pinpointing alternative paths to management
The HR departments play a primary role in locating and developing individuals who are more suitable for an alternative path to management, added Sandbrook, a practice that would benefit both firms and their workforce. The point is to avoid the classic ’square peg in a round hole scenario she said. "Many people have a lot to offer at a senior level, but maybe in technical or customer services. We have roles that are the equivalent seniority level to middle-management but don’t involve having to manage others. Identifying a route into these positions is very important for HR teams."
Facebook Offers a Dual Career Track
Facebook has made it easier for its employees to reach senior positions and be recognised as experts in their area of specialisation, assuming roles that are not related to people management. The idea behind this step is to enable technical experts to make the most of their devotion to what they are truly passionate about.
Similarly, Sandbrook explains that "there are expert groups across many different disciplines, from sales to marketing and service providers. It allows people from all areas to find something that suits their preferences.
A dual career ladder provides employees with an alternative career path instead of the traditional promotion to supervisory or managerial positions. Whats more, traditional progression strategies suggest that a management role should be bestowed to an employee as a recognition of achievement and high performance. However, this assumption made by many organizations leaders could be detrimental to the companys overall success. This is because someone could be excellent at doing his job, but not necessarily make a good manager. Being a technical expert does not necessarily mean being an outstanding manager.
All in all, the HR director of T-Systems has questioned the mainstream perception that all career progression roles should lead to management. Companies and particularly their HR departments should start promoting alternative paths to management that are better suited to their employees skillset, expertise, passions and aspirations.
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