Sylvia was perplexed. Difficulty trusting her judgment. “I have this gut feeling that Porter would make a good supervisor. But, he is our best technician. If I promote him and it doesn’t work out, I might lose my best technician.”
“Why do you feel Porter has the potential to be supervisor?” I asked.
“Intuition,” Sylvia replied. “The only thing I am concerned about is his people skills. As a technician, he is a good producer, and whenever anyone has a question, he is the lead guy. Whenever anyone has a problem, they talk to Porter. When anyone has a decision to make, Porter gets consulted. He has a knack for knowing what needs to get done next. I can see his planning skills, always looking ahead. He knows when materials are supposed to arrive, when we need to order, even for the longer lead time stuff.”
“Then what is your hesitation?”
“Sometimes, his people skills are a little rough,” she explained. “I don’t want to promote him and then find out he is a dictator.”
“Rather than assume, or guess, or hope that Porter has the potential to be a supervisor, how could you find out? How could you find out before you promote him? How could you confirm that he is not a dictator?”
“I guess I could talk to him,” Sylvia searched.
“And, so, he tells you he is not a dictator. Is that enough? Is that enough evidence to make a firm decision to promote him?” I pressed.
“Then how? How can we create tangible evidence that he has the potential to work effectively with other people?”
“I guess I could give him something to do where he has to work with other people in the capacity of a leader?” Sylvia tested.
“Not a permanent role assignment, but project work. Give Porter a project where he is the project leader for a specific task that requires him to use the resources of other people on a project team. If he fails, you have a broken project, big deal, you can manage that risk. If he is successful, you will have tangible evidence on which to base your decision. Not a hope, a wing and a prayer, but tangible evidence.”