Workplace Rights

Weekly (9/17/14)

Topic of the Week  The Challenge of Getting Promoted

  • Explain.
  • Engage.
  • Energize.
  • Empathize.


Les Miserables: The Challenge of Getting Promoted

What stresses leaders the mosté It might surprise you to learn that 9% said managing teenagers. Moving, 10%. Divorce, 11%. Coping with death, 15%. The number one stressoré A promotion, 19%, according to DDI. I know what you're thinking--getting more money, a better office and people to order around is a problemé Apparently so. Which reminds me of an email I got from a reader after his company had given him a really expensive pen. Something he'd never have bought for himself. A few months later he received a hefty tax bill for the "gift."

Promotions are like that expensive pen, a great gift, fun to show off and cool that the company did it for you. Until later when you face the costs of the extra responsibilities and headaches. The survey done by DDI also asked about the biggest stressors that go along with a new promotion, I came up with the four "E's" to address these concerns.

Explain. 65% of executives were most stressed out by the politics surrounding a new promotion. What's the best strategy to reduce politics as a new bossé Explain what's going on. Politics is often nothing more than employees conjecturing about what is being done and why. You can reduce the grapevine and chatter by taking the time to explain why decisions were made.

Engage. With 56% concerned about how they'll address uncertainty, you can better engage your people by getting them involved in the problem solving. Most bosses do the exact opposite, they hire consultants or just close their door to meet with other managers to problem solve. I'm a big believer in crowdsourcing. Engage your people in the problem solving process, especially when it involves them. I've even heard of situations where people voluntarily took time off to avoid a layoff, but only when they were included in the conversation.

Energize. Delegation was cites as a challenge by 55%. One of my favorite quotes is from Keith Harrell, "A dead battery can't charge a dead battery." That's why I always call the job of manager motivator-in-chief. When most leaders think about motivating employees they immediately leap to bigger paychecks and pricey perks. But you know what tends to motivate employeesé Thank you notes, recognizing great performance in front of their coworkers and bigger paychecks. Sure money motivates, but don't look past the other things that will also energize your people.

Empathize. 46% of leaders talked about the challenge of motivating others. Many bosses get lost in the need to treat people the same. I couldn't disagree more. Each person is different and it's your job to find out what motivates each person. For example, flex time may light a fire under an employee who has child care responsibilities during the week but won't mean nearly as much to a person who car pools to work at specific set times.

The Corporate Executive Board found that 60% of new mangers fail. So maybe the promotion itself doesn't stress you, but that statistic should.


Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

Thought of the Week

"I don't rule Russia, 10,000 clerks do."

–Czar Nicholas

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

    List of the Week

    from University of Buffalo

    That Which Does Not Kill, Makes You More Resilient


    • A history of adverse life events (divorce, death, etc.) makes you more resilient
    • Average number of adverse events for undergraduates was 19
    • 7.5% reported no adverse events
    • Those with more adverse events experienced less pain when they put hands into icewater



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