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I manage a team of product managers. We have a promotion period once a year. The process is like this: the manager nominates some of their team members, then a group of seniors and directors would assess the case.

We tend to have one product manager ready to be promoted (or at least close) every year. However, this year I don't have any qualified ones.

My manager wants me to promote one of my product managers, but I disagree on that. That person, in my opinion, is not yet ready.

My manager keeps pushing, he is saying that the person has potential and ultimately would be good in the new role. My point is that let's wait until next year, because a senior product manager can create more damage than good.

I discussed this many times with my manager, and he started using my performance as a way to play the game. He is saying that my role as a manager is to make sure people are ready and to grow them, which I find very weird because during the years I've promoted 4 already.

How should I go about handling this situation?

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    You told him your opinion, and he still insists - so I think go ahead and promote. And if things get out of hand - you will not be held 100% responsible because you did raise your concerns
    – manish ma
    Mar 5, 2023 at 10:08
  • "What would you suggest? go with the flow [...] or hold my feet down in what I believe?": this must be your decision. They promote that lad, not you, right?
    – OldPadawan
    Mar 5, 2023 at 12:23

2 Answers 2

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If upper management sees something in this person that you don't, they are under no obligation to delegate that decision to you. Certainly not when when, as you describe it, promoting this person does not entail not promoting someone else from your group whom you believe is a better candidate. Defending someone deserving is certainly part of your role; obstructing is not.

The individual will either succeed in the new role, judged by the higher standards of that role, or they won't and performance review will reflect that. They may surprise you.

You expressed your opinion. Your own manager respectfully disagrees. Let it go.

(If you were fighting to promote someone rather than hold them back I'd feel somewhat differently. Arguing with upper management on behalf of their people is part of a manager's role. Ditto for trying to get the recognition to go to the most deserving person in your group. But unless the promotion would be a disaster for the company I really don't see a reason to actively block it.)

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If I was your boss then I'd ask you to be specific about what skills etc were lacking. Then I'd say "How can we bring him/her up to speed in those areas?" "What extra actions do we need to take to support this person having new responsibilities?" "How will we deal with things going wrong at an early stage?" That's what management is about. Perhaps your boss is coaching you in how to develop talent.

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    Valid point, but it doesn't seem to directly answer the question of what the querant should do now -- you're suggesting what the boss should do now, and the complaint seems to be that the boss doesn't consider these faults significant enough not to promote.
    – keshlam
    Mar 6, 2023 at 1:02

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