Hooked on a Feeling

“How do I know?” Jonas asked. “I have a team member who wants a promotion, but I am not sure if they are ready.”

“How long have you been this person’s manager?” I asked.

“Eighteen months. In direct supervision, I’ve seen the good times and the bad times.”

“And who is your manager?” I continued.

“Brian,” Jonas replied. “And I have talked to Brian about this. As the Manager Once Removed (MOR), he has an interest in this person. He is always scouting the organization for talent.”


“And he is not sure either,” Jonas explained. “That’s my dilemma.”

“So, your team member feels that he would like a promotion, you feel like you aren’t sure and the MOR is interested, but feels the same way. Are you going to make this decision based on feeling, or on facts?”

“I don’t know. I don’t have any facts to go on. This person does well enough in their current role, but this promotion would be a different role. I would hate to make the promotion and have things go wrong.”

“I will cut you some slack,” I nodded. “Most managers make promotion decisions based on feelings. That is why they often don’t work out. Get your feelings out of this decision. A promotion decision is a matter of managerial judgment. Managerial judgment is not a feeling. What facts do you know that you can base your judgment on?”

Jonas shook his head. “This person has never performed any of the functions in this new role.”

“Without giving this person the promotion, can you test their performance in some of the functions? This is important. Take your time. Build the case with real evidence of performance. Then make your judgment.”

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