From Star Performer to Flame-out Failure


How many times have you seen this? Your top performer who wins all the awards in the sales department, gets the promotion to Sales Manager and leaves the company in six weeks, as a failure. Or, the best customer service rep gets promoted to Team Leader and then gets written up for their team’s failure to meet the customer service standards.

What happened? Where did all that drive and success go?

Here are a few numbers that may help you understand:

  • 40% of new managers fail within the first 18 months

  • Gallup says only 1 in 10 people have the talent to manage, lead, and motivate.

  • Organizations fail to promote the right people 82% of the time.

At the end of the day, the drive and desire to succeed hasn’t gone anywhere. It’s still there, but you may have to provide a few more tools to help them be the successful employees that got them there in the first place.

Here are a few suggestions that will help you keep them on track.

1.  Teach them the critical HR Basics.

New managers rarely know the importance of what keeping critical information confidential really means and what a negative impact talking to their former buds can have on the company and their career. While seasoned managers know what’s for publication and what’s not, the newbies need to be told what information they can share and what is for management ears only. By giving them this insight into an HR Basic, they have a better than average chance of not giving into their former peers nosey nature.

2.  Give them the ability to lead and communicate

The number one skill managers must bring to the table is the ability to communicate successfully with all of their employees. Without a foundation to understand what makes people act the way they do, your new managers are way behind the leadership curve. Employees who are promoted from within only have the experiences learned from their former managers to use as a guide in their interactions with their new reports. Take the time to invest in your future and theirs by giving them an opportunity to learn how to communicate effectively with those they lead.

3.  Take the time to listen.

All too often, frustrated employees walk away from a promising opportunity because their manager hasn’t taken the time to actively listen to what’s going on in their newly promoted employee’s world. You’re busy and have your own priorities to deal with, but don’t leave your new managers to flounder on their own. The time you take to listen to even their elementary problems and to share your worldly experiences, will be invaluable. You’ll walk away feeling accomplished, and your newbie manager will have the satisfaction of knowing you were willing to invest your time in their success.

It’s a win-win for everyone.

Remember that helping your newly promoted managers avoid failure flame-out is like being a head coach. Your job is to put your employees in the best possible position to succeed and then give them the tools they need to do the job. Don’t be afraid to spend the time, money, and effort it takes to help them be the best they can be. In the long run, when you invest in your employee’s future…everyone comes out a winner.