The Cuyahoga County (OH) sheriff recently began requiring successful candidates for promotion pass a physical fitness test. The theory is simple: the job requires the ability to chase down and contain criminals — actual and suspected — so pass a basic test of strength and running before attaining the higher position.
This seems a logical requirement for all law enforcement officers, but sadly, that’s not the case. Fear of union complaints from the non-supervisory level apparently outweighs fear of suspects and criminals escaping. No fitness test required there. Ergo, the donut stereotype continues with plenty of evidence to support it.
Why do manufacturers often promote their best engineer into supervision without providing some “fit for duty” test of supervisory skills? Or perhaps some supervisory training prior to a test? By losing a good engineer to the role of poor supervisor, the company and the engineer both lose twice.
Cuyahoga County sheriff officers can eat donuts by the dozen without career repercussions, unless they want promoted. You can ensure that your engineers are led by people who are fit for duty by helping them prepare and then verifying the appropriate skill set exists. And the same for your accountants, your supply chain professionals and all your other teams.
While requiring that the county sheriff officers are fit for duty may be just crazy, there’s no reason why all of us can’t work to ensure that leadership is qualified.