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What to do with career Blockers?


Other than removing the Manager from the position, what are some techniques/activities companies are utilizing to handle this situation?
Daniel Wilson

5 Responses

  1. Identification and accountability
    Why not ask them to identify staff ripe for career development then take that over?
    ie. Get them to identify the talent, then monitor and ensure they are nurturing that talent, make sure they are accountable for stretching them.

  2. Fear of Change
    Its interesting to note that some managers get uncomfortable with employees on fast track career paths. Can we re-tool the manager to see this as an opportunity for organizational development?

  3. WIFM
    I think that some of these responses assume a certain level of altruism. If I am reading your post correctly I think your issue is more about managers not identifying or nurturing career progression.

    Some of this can be down to the old WIFM (What’s in it for me?) symdrome and this is probably where you can actively target.

    With the best will in the world not all managers will be persuaded by the arguments that managing talent aid the business etc. They tend to see more work for them, or if the person moves on there is a jealousy issue or the fact that they then have to train/develop someone new – again more work for them. Also, if the high performer is taking on a lot of tasks/responsibility then the manager won’t want to lose them as it will impact negatively on their department. Some managers also fear this if it will then show that this individual was the main reason for the department’s performance rather than the manager! This does happen.

    So, the tuning into the WIFM factor and understanding the motivation behind the behaviour (Jealousy, fear, too much work etc) will help you target how to change those behaviours.

    For example identifying and nurturing people can be made part of the managers objectives and if these are rewarded in anyway (end of year appraisals/pay increases/bonus etc) then even better as they now have a tangible link between what they do about high performers and what they get as a result.

  4. Cause and effect
    You’ve identified the effect…now you have to look at EACH case and identify the cause.
    Traditionally there are a number of possible causes;
    ~jealousy-“No one looked after me when I was younger/junior, why should I do it for them now”
    ~jobsworth-“If I put this person forward for development I’ll lose them and that’ll make my job more difficult”
    ~busyness-“I’m too busy to be worrying about developing their career, I’ve got a job to do”
    -silobrain-“That is what the people in HR are supposed to do, it isn’t my job”
    -distraction-“I’m not supposed to that, I’ve got a team to manage”

    The appropriate response to each will be subtly different.
    If you don’t address the real cause, you won’t change the current effect…but you probably will do more harm than good


  5. Another reason for career blockers
    Hi Daniel

    Great list from Rus and I’ve got one to add to that, which is fear – fear that the individual will become so good they will overtake the manager or take their job (also ties in with insecurity).

    One way of handling the problem might be to take it out of managers’ hands. Hold assessment centres to identify people with potential and have the subsequent development process owned by HR/L&D and make it part of the overall succession planning process.



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