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They Got Promoted Too Soon. (#193)

TCL Illustration 193

The Confident Leader


A Chief Human Resources Officer said, “Robin, we’ve had a flood of personnel issues reported by the leaders about their teams.” What she shared next opened my eyes to a larger workplace epidemic. 

“If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are?”

―  T.S. Elliot

This Week’s Edition

Leaders who have not been trained to lead others well are having an out-sized negative impact on their organizations.  

Clarify Your Thinking

The HR professional proceeded to lay out the entirety of her organization’s leadership issue. She shared with me the following:

Situation: The Great Resignation wiped out about 25% of our staff. Many of the employees who stayed demanded higher compensation. The only way we could rationalize the increase in salary for certain staff members was to promote them. 

So, we chose the most competent individuals in each functional area and promoted them to high-stakes positions. 

Problem: What we are discovering is that just because a person is highly competent in their functional area of expertise does not mean they are a competent leader. 

It also revealed that we have not done a good job of keeping up with leadership development. The pandemic lockdown, work-remote, and the hybrid work environment have set us back about four years. 

Impact: The impact is that we have people in leadership positions who do not know how to lead. It seems like every leadership issue they encounter, they call HR. 

Need: Robin, we need help. Leaders who call 1-800-HR when a team member is chronically late to work are not exhibiting good leadership. Having a hard conversation and holding your team members accountable is the job of the leader. 

Thoughts Lead to Actions

Research shows that leaders are relying on HR to do many things they would routinely have been responsible for as the leader:

  • Communication
  • Change management
  • Accountability
  • Conflict management 

Leaders may be using HR as a crutch to fill the gap in their leadership skills, because they feel ill-equipped to lead. Meaning, they know they have been promoted too soon from the perspective of their leadership skills. 

77% of organizations report that leadership is lacking. And, 60% of Millennials want leadership training.

But how do Millennial leaders like to be trained? Research shows there are four main ways

  1. Formal in-person training (39%)
  2. Assessment to diagnose leadership strength (42%)
  3. Developmental assignments (48%)
  4. External coaching (48%)

We live to make bad leadership extinct. We provide services to support organizations to invest in leadership at all leadership levels. Reach out to us and we will think through it with you.

Boost Your Performance

Get on track to win your week. Take the Win Your Leadership Week survey. Spend 5 minutes and alter the trajectory of your next 5 days!  

Last week, 25 leaders leveraged this leadership tool to win their week. One leader said, “These questions are similar to the conversations I have with my work accountability partner, but better!” 

Every year you get 50 attempts to get it right. Let’s take it one week at a time. Let’s win the week! 

Click the link below to take the Win Your Leadership Week survey!

What’s Your Opinion?

What is your approach to winning your week? Share it with me at

If you are going to be a leader, you might as well be a good one. Don’t let doubt count you out. Have a confident week!

Robin Pou, Chief Advisor and Strategist

We live to make bad leadership extinct so forward this newsletter to others who strive to be confident leaders. 


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What is “The Confident Leader”?

During the Covid-19 Pandemic, I began a video series called “Panic or Plan?” It was designed to equip leaders to navigate the doubt they experienced and to rise in the confidence they needed to lead during turbulent times. It took off. I then started this newsletter to equip leaders in the same fashion each week for the doubt that crashes across the bow of their leaderSHIP.