About our blog author: Jeremy King, SPHR, Business Development Manager: serves as business development manager at FlashPoint, an Indianapolis-based human resource and business consulting firm. Jeremy oversees the company’s marketing efforts and often spends time on the road, attending conferences, speaking at meetings, or representing FlashPoint at industry events. He has worked for more than eleven years in the industry, with experience starting and running his own training and development firm. Jeremy holds a bachelor’s degree in management from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University–Indianapolis. He is on the board of directors for the Kiwanis Club of Indianapolis and for IndySHRM. He also serves on the Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce’s ChamberAction committee and on Special Olympics Indiana’s special events support team.


One of my favorite commercials is from Monster.com where a child states, “I wanna claw my way up to middle management.” I remember the first time I became an assistant manager. I was so excited to send my new business cards to my whole family (even though they live in Colorado and couldn’t do business with me) and I readily gave one to anyone who would take one. We all love the American success story about the person who started in the mail room and worked his way up to CEO—what a great story. Everyone should strive to accomplish that, right?

What happened to simply being “the best” at what we do? Why if we are considered “the best,” do we have to get promoted to feel valued? By that rationale, Peyton Manning should be the coach and not the quarterback. Imagine what would happen to the Indianapolis Colts if Curtis Painter took over and Manning was simply his coach? Do you remember when Magic Johnson tried to coach? He failed miserably, yet no one would argue that he is one of the greatest basketball players of all-time. The role of being a coach is different from being a player. Just like the role of being a manager is different from being a contributor. Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of contributors who have what it takes to be a manager and I firmly believe that leadership can be taught; but, it is not for everyone and that should be ok.

So, what do you do? You can’t stop promoting from within your organization because you do not want employees to feel stagnate.

Here are some considerations:

  1. How does a promotion impact your customers?
  2. Think about how you show that you value your employees. Does everyone know how they contribute to the success of your business?  What is their impact on your business?
  3. Do a job analysis and consider job enrichment and/or enlargement versus simply promoting people into management. Few people want to do the exact same job each day, but it doesn’t mean the only way to change that is through promotion.
  4. Develop a management and leadership development (http://flashpointhr.com/management_leadership_development.html) system that may include training, coaching, or mentoring for high potential employees.
  5. Consider a pay-for-performance compensation (http://flashpointhr.com/compensation.html) plan as many people want and take a management position simply because it pays more.
  6. Ask employees how they feel about their contributions and their role within your organization.

There was a time in my career when I would have ranked advancement as the most important part of my job. As I have matured in my career, I value the impact I can have on an organization. It didn’t come naturally and it took a lot of work. I now chuckle a bit when I hear titles dropped in conversations. My current title will not raise the eyebrows that my CEO title once did, but I can tell you confidently that I would have a much larger impact on your organization today than I would have six years ago.