5 People You Should Never Promote to a Leadership Position

Good candidates for company leadership are hard to find.

They’re also tough to cultivate, as it’s so rare to find people that have all the skills and personality traits to lead a team to success.

Worse, when bad leadership happens suddenly, it can destroy everything you and your team have worked their tail off to achieve thus far!

Here’s 5 people that don’t deserve to be promoted to leadership positions:

1. They always have to be the hero.

The hero of the day. They swoop in whenever there’s trouble and get things sorted quickly.

In their own minds, they’re the reason the company wheels are turning and everyone would be lost without them.

But, it doesn’t end there. They always take the credit, regardless how the rest of the world sees it.

The consummate hero, who’s always talking about how they saved this project, and told “so and so” they were doing “it” all wrong will go to any length to promote themselves and demote others.

They’ll throw everyone, including you, under the bus anytime there’s a problem. They’ll argue to no end when you present irrevocable evidence they dropped the ball on something.

The hero is exhausting now, and will only get worse when you put them in a position where they can demonstrate their dominance over all comers.

2. They’re always asking, but never showing their drive.

In your career, you’ll encounter many folks who’ll constantly ask for promotions, but never really show you anything worthy of upwards movement in the company.

These people will constantly pester for raises and promotions, but never once ask how they can improve upon themselves to achieve that end.

Suggestions at assessment time go in one ear, out the other, leaving you feeling like they just don’t care enough to take on new responsibilities.

But they’ll be there in the break room, talking about how much work they’ve done, all the late nights, how much better they are than “Ted” who just got the promotion they want.

This person just doesn’t get they’re delusional and likely never to get ahead because they’ve pulled the wool over their own eyes.

If promoted to a leadership position, this personality type will continue to strive for the same quality they always have, making other team members work harder than they should, and potentially infecting the staff with their poor work ethic and attention to fine detail.

3. They have some, but not all of the skills required.

Jack Welch didn’t go straight from college to CEO of General Electric. He had to learn and grow — acquire all the necessary skills and traits that would lead GE to the industry domination he helped to achieve.

Maybe they just don’t have the skills, but assure you they’ll get up to speed quickly.

Perhaps they’re great with people and would make a great leader in your mind, but they won’t really be able to relate to their team due to what’s lacking.

A computer programmer can’t lead a team of graphic designers, right?

This type is very likely just in it for the cache the position holds, and the showing off they’ll be able to do around the office and in their personal life.

If you promote them, disaster is sure to follow. Tell them they’re not ready and offer tips on how they can get where they want to go, if they’re serious.

You can’t make a horse drink water, but you can help it find the pond.

4. They use their strong personality to bully their way in.

Whether it’s verbal or physical intimidation, or shameless flirting and exploitation, this kind of employee should never get his/her way.

A great leader needs more than their iron fist to lead; they need empathy and the ability to reason with others.

This person has a reputation around the office for always getting their way.

Give it to them and you add to their power, but theirs will be a castle built on sand.

They’ll never lead an effective team, and will be nothing but a pain in the rear to upper management when you need to step in and make corrections, or need them to do anything they disagree with.

The bully is a tough call to nix as a leader, because so many leaders through history have led teams to greatness by dominating the personalities that surrounded them.

However, even the strongest armies in history have proved that this kind of leadership rarely has a positive lasting impact. Alexander the Great was ruthless in his approach, but after his death, the Macedonian Empire soon fell.

Office bullies shouldn't be promoted to leadership positions.
Image Credit: Maryland GovPics/Flickr

5. They’re a quitter when times get tough.

This personality type should never get to sit behind the big desk.

However, they can be tougher to spot than one might think.

We can all see the whiny baby in the corner complaining about everything, crying or throwing a tantrum in the corner whenever things don’t go according to their plan.

Unless their the boss’s son or daughter, they’re unlikely to slip through the cracks.

It’s the quitter who’s clever enough to avoid defeat the majority of the time, who’ll drop the ball when adversity looms large that you have to identify before mistakenly promoting.

If they go unspotted and promoted, there’s no telling how much they’ll cost the company in lost contracts, employees who quit, and opportunities that never get a chance to be explored.

This is why it’s so important to eyeball potential leadership candidates early, and take every opportunity to challenge them with difficult situations under your eye of scrutiny.

Promotion mistakes are to be expected.

You’ll definitely make mistakes promoting people that just aren’t up to the task. However, looking out for the 5 types of poor leadership candidates mentioned will at least ensure promotions don’t lead to permanent damage!

Main Image Credit: Lauren Rushing/Flickr