Is Promotion Always the Best Solution?

Most people would think that a promotion from area supervisor to regional director on a partnership track would be the epitome of corporate ladder climbing. I only dreamed of such an accomplishment — then learned to be careful of what I yearn for.

It all began in multi-family housing management where my talent for smooth resident relations prompted a promotion to assistant manager then property manager and finally area supervisor. I enjoyed being in management because it was like my leasing position but with less paperwork and added decision-making power.

Proving effortless advancement transitions, a promotion to regional director was next, with a partnership with the organization on the horizon — the final level before property management nirvana. But there was one hitch. One year into my new position I realized that I was not happy. Feelings of not being “me” at work, of being a professional “brownnoser,” struck hard. Burned out and worn out, I wanted out.

What happened?

Given my ambition to reach this level, why didn’t this promotion feel right for me?

Unfortunately, this happens quite often. Employers promote “star players” to a position in which they may not be intrinsically attracted, leading to burn out and loss of interest.

As a team leader, I learned that the best reward for great employee performance is not always promotion. It is unreasonable for an employer to expect an employee to change or alter his or her natural gifts and strengths — that which excited us about the employee in the first place.

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