South-Western - Management  
Bosses Who Pigeonhole Workers Waste Talent, Contribute to Turnover
Topic Managing Individuals and Teams
Key Words promoting individuals, turnover
News Story

Many managers quickly form rigid opinions about employees, then resist changing those views in spite of evidence that the employees possess talents that weren't apparent when they were first hired. As the employees express interest in different kinds of jobs, they are brushed aside, often becoming frustrated. Those who resign themselves to this end up contributing at a fraction of their potential. Others leave for more satisfying jobs at other companies, costing the company time and money in replacing them.

Sometimes managers pigeonhole employees because it is easier to assign employees jobs and functions in which they have experience and success. However, this practice discourages innovation and initiative, and wastes talents that these employees are offering. Michael J. Critelli, CEO of Pitney Bowes, regularly moves top managers across functions and businesses so they get broader experience. He held positions in several areas of the company himself, and believes that should be the model to follow when hiring and promoting people.

Questions
1.

Why do managers pigeonhole employees in certain kinds of jobs, and what is wrong with this approach?

2.

Have you ever had a boss who didn't appreciate your ideas and talents, relegating you to lesser jobs? How did it make you feel? What did you do about it?

Source "Bosses Who Pigeonhole Workers Waste Talent, Contribute to Turnover," The Wall Street Journal, May 24, 2005, p. B1.
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