Exponent Leadership: Recent Promotion to Management

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Situation

Anthony, at 30, was promoted to Director of Finance. The senior leadership team chose him because he had the skill and values that the role required. Before the promotion, he had served as a team leader in the purchasing department.

Six months after receiving the promotion, several of his staff had approached the VP of Finance with concerns about his management. So, I was brought in to help Anthony address those challenges, which you can read below.

  • Anthony was showing favoritism to his friends, with whom he used to work and now was managing.
  • He was doing a lot of the work and struggling to delegate effectively.
  • A set of goals were assigned to him by the VP of Finance, and he hadn’t created any plan to accomplish those goals.
  • He wasn’t adding any ideas to discussions during management meetings.

Intervention

When I initially met with Anthony, we created three main areas of focus and development. These areas were approved by his manager.

  1. Treating employees fairly and enhancing the personal accountability of each subordinate.
  2. Creating action plans, including proper task delegation to staff in line with their capabilities.
  3. Building Anthony’s confidence in sharing ideas and perspectives during the management meetings.

Anthony and I spent four months in a coaching relationship. He was the perfect candidate for my Exponent Leadership Development Program because he had the skill and ability for the job, he just needed to address the areas of concern listed above.

Our Intervention Included:

  • 360-degree feedback.
  • Monthly interviews with Anthony’s manager and subordinates designed to identify and track areas of strength as well as areas needing change. During these interviews, we looked at the following:
    • Subordinate treatment and accountability assessment 
    • Plan development and explanations
    • Task delegation

The feedback was summarized and given to Anthony and his manager.

1-on-1 Coaching
  • Coaching was designed to increase Anthony’s skill and confidence in sharing his thinking with the management team.
  • A key area of development was improving Anthony’s ability to engage in civil and supportive discourse with other managers, even when they didn’t agree.
  • I coached him on how to develop and present current and future plans for the business unit.
We Used Specific Exponent Leadership Process Content Sections
  • Goal Setting and Time Span
  • Planning and Creating a Future
  • Coaching Performance
  • Coaching Underperformance
  • Managerial Authority – Time Span and Accountability

Each content section required that Anthony complete a field assignment, and then develop a short report describing what had happened, what he had learned, and how he would apply his learning in the future. We discussed the strengths and solutions that worked.

I observed Anthony during management meetings and meetings with his staff and provided feedback and support to both Anthony and his team. Before and after each meeting, we spent time preparing and reflecting on what was successful and where he could improve.

Resolution

During the four months, progress reports were sent to Anthony’s manager. At the end of this period, reports expressed the following information.

  • Staff perceived his treatment of them as fair and equitable according to their accountabilities.
    • Specifically, NO ONE saw or mentioned any reoccurrence of favoritism.
  • Anthony created plans, and appropriately delegated significant portions.
  • Staff members felt a welcome relief and reported that Anthony was now taking the time to coach them, explaining clearly and distinctly their results on work assignments.
  • Other managers reported an increase in Anthony’s professionalism and preparedness for the management meetings.
  • Anthony was able to clearly state his ideas and engage in civil discourse about possible solutions to business unit issues.
  • Anthony had more time to both complete his work and improve his department, creating an increase in employee satisfaction and retention.

With Anthony, we were able to make it work. Because his superiors recognized the need for improvement. Remember, people join companies. But they leave managers. Be the reason people stay with your company.