No matter the size of your business, you need to prepare for the future. Whether your company stays the way it is or grows rapidly, you need leaders down the road to make up for employee turnover or to lead a growing workforce. When considering your staff, keep these tips in mind to find the best fit and prepare them for more responsibilities.
Look beyond performance
While performance can be a good indicator of success further up the career ladder, HBR.org author Rebecca Knight points out that there are several other metrics you should use when looking for management candidates. First of all, you need to know if a worker actually has ambitions for a promotion. While one of your salesmen might be great at their job, they might not be ready to step off of the sales floor and into an office.
You also need to make sure that an employee understands how your business works. Even if they are good at accomplishing tasks, they might not be ready for management if they do not even understand how decisions are made.
Lastly, pay attention to how your potential leader behaves around coworkers. Can they accurately perceive the attitude of a meeting and rise to that level of professionalism, and do they treat coworkers with empathy? A member of your staff might be great to hang around with, but if they bully or belittle their coworkers they would need a lot of guidance before they could take on a leadership role.
Give them a hand
For great employees to become effective leaders, they should be educated to deal with issues that management routinely deals with. It is one thing to work well in your office and another thing to discipline employees and meet organizational goals. WSJ.com’s Management Guide recommends giving employees marked as potential leaders a mentor. Whether you pair these employees with yourself or another leader in your business, this gives both parties an opportunity to talk about the challenges of the role and lessons the mentor has learned from their experience.
Change it up
If your employees are restricted to one role in the business, it can be difficult to grasp what goes on in the organization as a whole. WSJ.com recommends rotating employees through different roles and responsibilities as much as possible to give them varied experiences in your business. If these employees move up into management, they will know more about how the company operates and how each action has an effect throughout the organization.
Even if your company does not currently have leadership promotions open, consider giving future candidates a chance to prove themselves now. Inc.com writer Lauren Cannon suggests giving aspiring employees more responsibilities and tasks to handle will help them prove themselves and their abilities. Not only will you get some help with company initiatives and projects you might not have time to handle yourself, but you can evaluate their performance to determine if they can handle the pressure or if there are areas they need to improve upon.
You have to do what is best for the future of your company, but these tips can help you find new leaders and prepare them for the responsibility that lies ahead.