Pain of promotion second to none

A major promotion is more challenging to people than dealing with divorce and many companies do not do enough to help their new managers. These are some of the key findings of a study of 600 international leaders by global HR consultancy, DDI.

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A major promotion is more challenging to people than dealing with divorce and many companies do not do enough to help their new managers. These are some of the key findings of a study of 600 international leaders by global HR consultancy, DDI.

Stepping Up, Not Off, a leadership transitions study, found 59% rated promotions as either very challenging or extremely challenging. This intensified with the seniority of the transition.

More than three quarters (80%) of leaders say that understanding the new role requires a different way of thinking would have helped them to be more successful.

The DDI report focused on the responses of 385 leaders in the US with comparisons to their counterparts around the globe. Almost half of the organisations represented employ more than 10,000 people and 25% have revenues in excess of $10 billion. Respondents said that they could use more help in making these stressful and challenging transitions.

Dr Ben Booth, global chief technology officer of research group Ipsos and chairman of British Computer Society user group Elite thinks the problem is intensified in internal promotions. "If you move jobs between organisations as a senior, most employers will go to some effort with the induction. They will have paid a lot for your appointment and will want to get the most out of you," he said.

As one anonymous respondent commented: "Dealing with peers and even bosses' envy is extremely difficult. We have to re-build our notion that people are there to help. Sometimes they are there to make you fail."

Office politics, networking and getting work down through others were all recorded as stressors. Senior leaders rated establishing networks as the toughest task and were troubled the least by office politics. All respondents rated the ability to adjust to getting work done through other as being in their top three most difficult challenges.

DDI warned that the global shortage of leadership supply is likely to accelerate the rate at which less-experienced leaders are promoted into roles of greater responsibility.

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