Team Building & Leadership Expert Michael Cardus

Below is a leadership coaching conversation. The names have been changed, and the discussion matters.

“Mike, today we need to talk about Jack. When we promoted him to VP of operations he was full of energy and ready to take on the challenge, now he is a disaster.”

“Tell me about that, the interview and how he was hired?”

“He worked here for 10 years and was our best programmer, when the opportunity for promotion came he was not our first pick, but he had been here so long and he told us that he can handle the work.”

“What is happening in Jack’s department now?”

Deadlines are being missed, people are coming to me and HR complaining that he is micro-managing and being very authoritative, plus 3 of the best people we have in that department have left. My biggest concern is Jack himself, he is yelling at people and is miserable!”

“Describe Jack in his earlier role.”

”You could count on him, be was amicable and everyone on the team liked and respected him. The opposite of what he is like now.”

“Do you feel this is a skilled knowledge problem, Does Jack have the Managerial Leadership skills necessary to handle the complexity of this promotion?”

“He said he did when interviewed, now I don’t know. He just cannot seem to see the forest from the trees.”

“And he was better in his last position?”


“Remember the coaching session we had where we spoke about Current Applied Capability vs Potential Capability. It sounds to me like Jack at this time was matched in his former role and this new role is too complex and outside his Current Applied Capability causing him to exert a (-T) negative temperament. What are your options?”

“Well I could just keep him where he is and hope he gets better, I could offer some coaching & mentoring, perhaps some skill training?”

“If this position is outside his Current Capability and you said that this is NOT a skills thing-do you think, based upon your experience any of that will work?”

“No, it looks like returning Jack to his former position is the only alternative. But what about his salary increase? We are paying him more money for this increased accountability and authority.”

“Who’s mistake was the promotion?”

“Mine plus the hiring team, what do you recommend?”

“It sounds like Jack, in order for him to remain healthy, the department to remain functional and profitable, and the company to grow will need to be returned to his earlier programmer position. Keep his pay at its current level, just share with Jack that there will be no merit raises until his salary is matched with his current pay rate. This way you and the company are not punishing Jack for your hiring mistake.”


Conclusion: Management is tough and determining what the role for the promotion and hiring requires will ensure that the right person, at the right time, with the right skill set, with the right current capability needs will make your job as manager easier.

Would you benefit from an objective tool that measures employees capability to complete the work and ensures that people are matched to the roles that will make them successful with the greatest productivity? Contact Mike and learn about the Exponent Leadership Process – to make your team and leadership better.