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HBR Guide to Coaching Employees (HBR Guide Series) by Harvard Business Review

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Chapter 14

Coaching Rising Managers to Emotional Maturity

by Kerry A. Bunker, Kathy E. Kram, and Sharon Ting

In the past 10 years, we’ve met dozens of managers who have fallen victim to a harmful mix of their own ambition and their bosses’ willingness to overlook a lack of people skills. Indeed, most executives seek out smart, aggressive people, paying more attention to their accomplishments than to their emotional maturity. What’s more, they know that their strongest performers have options—if they don’t get the job they want at one company, they’re bound to get it somewhere else. Why risk losing them to a competitor by delaying a promotion?

The answer is that promoting them can be just as risky. Putting these unseasoned managers into positions ...

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