Is Your High-Performing Employee Ready to Lead?

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If you’re interested in building company value, you’re likely on the lookout for up and coming talent to bolster your team. But how do you know if an employee is truly ready to lead?  Keep reading for the six most important questions you’ll need to answer.

  1. Is Your Employee REALLY Interested in Becoming a Manager?

First, make sure your employee is actually interested in becoming a manager and is driven to be successful in a leadership role. Avoid someone who’s just looking for a way to get their next pay increase or feels this is the only next step toward growth for them at your company.

The best way to find the answer to this question is to ask. Does the candidate want to be in a management position? Does he or she desire to coach and inspire others to do their best work and grow? Have their actions demonstrated these interests in the past?

  1. Does Your Employee Have the Skills?

Being a great manager requires different skills than being an individual contributor. Look for evidence that your employee has at least some of the right skills when they work on projects with other team members.  Some of those include resilience, curiosity, emotional intelligence, ambition, empathy, self-knowledge, people skills and the ability and desire to give credit to others.

  1. What About their Mindset?

You’ll also need to assess whether your employee can think in strategic, big-picture terms with the ability to prioritize what’s most critical and what will move the organization forward. Does he or she have a vision for the organization and the department? Look for signs that the employee has the drive and desire to have a larger impact on the organization, as a whole.

Another aspect of assessing mindset is to learn how well they understand the role of a manager. Ask what they think makes a great leader and how he or she would run the team if given the opportunity. Do their answers line up with your expectations?

  1. Does Your Employee Have the Experience & Knowledge?

Have they been a manager in a previous job or on large projects?  If not, your staffer may have lead clubs, sports teams, or volunteer groups.  Those past experiences can be a great indicator of management skills.

Another important factor is how well they understand the current state of your business, its culture and where it’s going in the future? Ask them questions to assess this and parse out any areas where you may disagree with their answers to be sure you’re on the same page.

  1. Have You Seen Any Red Flags?

Lastly, be sure to watch and listen carefully for any red flags during your discovery process. Things like closed mindedness, inability to take constructive feedback well, being inconsiderate of others’ points of view, thinking they’re smarter or better than others – these are all major red flags. It’s also a concern if any of their answers or actions don’t align with the goals, culture, or values of your business.

  1. What do You do When You’re Not Sure?

Another way to judge whether your employee is ready for management is to ask for the opinions of other leaders in your organization as well as the individual’s peers – ask for examples of times when they showed leadership skills and get a sense for how they work with others.

If your employee doesn’t exhibit some of these traits or they don’t have enough experience, provide opportunities for them to show you their potential like taking the lead on a project or initiative. Are they willing to stretch themselves and take on new tasks, even when they’ll be a challenge?

The Bottom Line

If you’re really trying to build value in your company, it’s important to know if the employee you’re considering for management has the potential and the desire to be a leader.  But always remember that leadership skills can be developed and your most important job, to ensure the company thrives long after you’re gone, is to nurture each manager’s capabilities to grow and succeed.