My friend, colleague and blogger (she is also a Web 2.0 Nerd!) Nikki Gordon
brings up a great point in her blog entry yesterday
. She talks about a friend of hers who is talented at what he does. Talks about his strengths and the things he loves about his job. The interesting part of the conversation is he never talks about his managerial/leadership skills. He never talks about his ability to lead a team. The strange part is that he is just that and is expected to be a leader and manager of people.
I have seen this happen all too often throughout my career. People who are great at what they do, whether it be HR, Sales, Nursing, Account Management but fail when it comes time to manage or lead a team. The reason is there are specific skill sets for outstanding Sales Professionals that are not necessarily transferrable to Sales Managers. The opposite is true as well. The fact of the matter is, we as HR professionals need to find the right person for the position we have today and look for the abilities in the person for the job they will have tomorrow. Some people are great at Sales and would be terrible at managing sales people.
Our responsibility is create a pipeline of talented people for the organization we support, be it internal or external candidates. While some organizations are great at creating their leaders of tomorrow (a la General Electric
) others struggle to keep up because they do not want to do external recruitment and risk losing a top performer. As a result, they wind up putting a top producer in a position they are merely good at vs. the position they are great at.