While visiting with a client recently I noticed a member of the team had been promoted to "Team Lead". The Team Lead was responsible for scheduling staff, dealing with smaller day to day matters with staff and clients, along with a minutia of other issues that come up during the day. I knew the staff fairly well and had never really considered this person for a leadership role. She had never displayed good communications skills, a sense of humor, team spirit and was often the odd man out during day to day conversations. During lunch I asked the manager why that particular member of the team had been promoted as opposed to a number of other staff members who I felt were more suited for a leadership role. Her answer didn't really surprise me. It's a common practice used by many organizations around the world. She was promoted because her sales were consistently higher. Fortunately the manager was open to having a discussion on the matter. I asked how morale was in the office. She said it was low. Had others increased their sales because of her mentoring. "No...two people left" was her response.
Last question, "Does she take liberties around the office, such as leaving early?"
"As a matter fact she's done so twice...and it's the busy season !!!!"
I had to ask, "What will you do?"
"I'll probably let her go."
"So now you've lost your best sales person and will be down one staff member."
To make a long story story I recommend promoting "the right people". Sometimes the right person isn't your best sales person or your best techie. Quite often your natural leader is simply going a great job but not the best job. Take the time to find out if they are interested in taking on a leadership role and if they are willing to take on the additional responsibilities and take advantage of management training workshops. If they are, you've probably found your next leader. You'll likely also avoid months of difficult office politics and attrition.
In the case above, the team lead agreed to management training. I sincerely hope she become "the right person"