It is one of the many ironies of the modern workplace that the better we are at our jobs the more likely we are to be promoted out of them!

Too often, as leaders, we come across someone who is fantastic in their role, a brilliant individual contributor, and we feel compelled to promote them away from where they excel.

So how do we manage this process and give our best talent the best chance to grow and succeed at what is often a crossroads in their career? Managing critical moments of transition between being an individual contributor to leading for the first time is vital, obviously for the individuals concerned, but also for your business.

Planning and support during this period of change is paramount. Whilst on one level it may be obvious that it’s time for someone to move up the organisation and take on more responsibility, having a successful transition is critical. Let’s be honest, just having the word “manager” in the title doesn’t immediately qualify you to be the best leader in the world; try to remember when you took on your management first role!

The VAULT model can help you and your business manage these types of role transitions.

Voice early on that you think an individual has the potential to grow into being a manager and leader. Get them thinking about this as a potential move as soon as possible so that they can begin to test and learn new management techniques. For example, why not encourage them to start delegating and see how they fare?

Anticipate the change with the individual concerned, and give them the support and empathy they need to succeed. This can be as part of a succession planning process, or may well be just on a one-off basis as you realise someone is demonstrating exceptional talent and needs progression.

Understand that the individual concerned will be new to leading, may well lack confidence, and so will almost certainly need support. Consider offering them a mentor or coach, particularly in the early stages of their new role.

Listen to feedback from them and their colleagues as they are early on in the new role. How are they doing, do they need more support, are they flourishing? Course correct quickly so that unwanted habits don’t endure. Indeed, immerse new leaders in positive feedback!

Make sure they get the right training, both before they take on the new role, but also in the early stages of being a manager. We don’t transform into great leaders overnight so giving new leaders the right training is critical to help them hone their skills, and give them the right tools to flourish.

Finally, give them the time to succeed. I’ve seen many occasions where someone is promoted and then immediately criticised for not delivering on unrealistic expectations. This is a quick way to assure failure and to prompt great talent to leave an organisation. Giving individuals the time and space to grow, and even fail in part, is crucial during this period of transition.

Of course, we need to remember that the best individual contributors will not necessarily make the best leaders. Yes, they may well have high potential however they will need just as much help (and probably even more) than you had when you first began your leadership journey. Give them the support they need and there’s a real chance they can successfully vault into the next level of their career.