Promotion Without Tools

Too often, promotions on the job come without the tools to be successful. Your new supervisors and managers need to know the HR pitfalls and how to navigate them when they arise.

Too often, promotions on the job come without the tools to be successful.  Here are some things that new managers and supervisors need to know:


HR Pitfalls

Your new supervisors and managers need to know the HR pitfalls and how to navigate them when they arise. Situations like:

  1. What to do if an employee tells you that they are being sexually harassed
  2. What to do when employees are not getting along
  3. What to do when sensitive issues arise

Just because the Internet exists doesn’t mean that your company should leave your workforce to educate themselves using it.  Your workforce development plan needs to come with the do’s and don’t’s of the job as a new supervisor, manager, senior leader, and any other promotion. Don’t assume they know this. Even if the manager was hired at that level from another company, please don’t presume that they know how you want this done at your company. Yes, be proactive.


One Example: The Kisser and the Kissed

A person was promoted to manager of a department they didn’t come from. This means two big changes. The first being a promotion. The second, a new department. There were responsibilities within this job that the manager was unfamiliar with including annual budgeting, and HR functions. In this post, I’ll focus on the HR function. The staff of fewer than 10 people this manager would be working with had been in place for at least 5 years. In today’s workforce, that’s a long time. They got along well and knew their jobs well. In many ways, this manager was promoted to a team that was already running like a well-oiled machine. This allowed the manager to come in and get comfortable. Perhaps, too comfortable. Since everyone on the job knew how to do their jobs and were doing them efficiently, there was little more for the manager to do than ensure that the basic functions of their job were performed, like getting reports in on time and meeting with leaders in other departments to communicate. Nine months into the job, one member of the team suddenly kissed another member of the team on the mouth in a private meeting in their office. The kiss came out of nowhere. They were not romantically involved. The staff member who received the kiss did not know what to do next. They went on to the next item on the agenda, finished the meeting, and the receiver of the kiss went back to their office. A few days later, the person who received the kiss confided in another member of the team about the kiss. “I didn’t know what to do then, and I don’t know what to do now.”  The team member suggested they tell the manager. The receiver of the kiss did not want to get the kisser into trouble. They were most concerned with how to proceed with working with them in light of the kiss. The receiver of the kiss and the person whom they confided in both concluded that going to the manager would mean getting their team member in trouble, and neither of them wanted that for the kisser. As the weeks went on, the receiver of the kiss became more troubled by the kiss. They avoided the kisser and it eventually impacted the communication and ultimately the work of the team. By then, more people on the team knew about the kiss and its impact. The suggestion from another team member to the receiver of the kiss was to talk with the manager. This person scheduled a meeting with the manager and met with them. The manager said “I wish you had come to me with this sooner,” and apologized to them. The meeting was over. Nothing further happened. The person who received the kiss applied for a new job and left one month later.


My suggestion: onboard your new hires and promotions promptly

When a person is promoted, it is wise to have them go through a training program specifically to address the promotion before they begin the new job. Big topics should be addressed in their onboarding:

  • Reiterate the company’s mission, vision, and values
  • Be certain they know what the company’s work culture aspires to be and how they can help maintain and improve it
  • How to handle payroll and benefits issues
  • How to properly fulfill the employee appraisals
  • How to coach an employee
  • How to support team communication
  • Things to say and avoid
  • What to do if an employee tells you that they are being sexually harassed
  • What to do when employees are not getting along
  • What to do when sensitive issues arise
  • Where to go for help on topics and what that help and process will look like


Ensuring that newly promoted individuals are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills is paramount for organizational success. While the situation of the kisser and the kissed may not have been avoided, the confusion that happened in the aftermath might have been. In conclusion,  From HR requirements to handling sensitive workplace issues, providing comprehensive training can mitigate potential challenges and foster a culture of professionalism and accountability. By investing in the development of leaders, companies can uphold their values, maintain a positive work environment, and empower individuals to thrive in their new roles.  #wecanhelp



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