The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 7 (November 1, 1927)
Production Engineering. — (Part XVI.) — Promotion By Merit
Perhaps the most vital question that confronts the management of any industry to-day is the selection of officers for the positions of responsibility.
Those of you who have studied modern management cannot fail to have been impressed with the importance of this phase of the subject-the scrupulous care that is taken to ascertain the qualifications of such officers, and to see to it that only the very best men obtainable occupy the controlling positions in each particular organisation.
Do you appreciate what it would mean to a progressive industry to have any position filled with an individual lacking in the requisite qualifications?
I ask you in all seriousness to think for a moment as to how you would select your officers, if you owned the whole business.
By merit? By qualification? What test would you apply?
Not length of service, surely! Length of service coupled with the necessary qualifications -yes, but not of itself. Length of service may merit reward, but not necessarily by promotion to the more responsible positions.
Every member has two viewpoints to consider -his own, and the Management's. Don't make the mistake of considering that your view is necessarily right, and neglect the other.
You may think you are quite capable of filling a certain position; in fact you may consider that plenty of men around you could fill it. Are you basing that conclusion on the fact that “Bill” “so and so” held it down for so many years, or the fact that you have never had a “blister” at any time? Do you consider these to be qualifications?
From my viewpoint, almost always there is a scarcity of men qualified to fill executive positions. Mind you, I did not say there is a scarcity of men to “hold down” the job. I mean qualified by reason of ability and merit.
A question sometimes asked is, “What are the qualifications required of men for filling executive positions in the service?” Among the qualifications looked for are the following:—
Leadership, Energy, Thoroughness, Observation, Concentration, Judgment, Tact, Control, Fairness, Loyalty, Personality, Commonsense, and Technical Training.
It is sometimes asked “How can a man show these qualifications if he has never had the job?” The answer is that, since it is impractical to try men out, these qualifications must be demonstrated, and they can be demonstrated-in no uncertain manner-by a man who possessess them. Officers know this, and it is their guide when making recommendations at the staff reviews.
The following are some points of personal advice:—
Don't expect to get a bigger job before you are qualified for it.
Don't wait until you are passed over before thinking about qualifying.
No outside employer would think of promoting unqualified men. The Department is entitled to reason exactly the same way.