Six Tips for Spotting Employees with Management Potential
Whether or not to promote employees to their first management position is a tough call and somewhat of a gamble. The smartest, most productive employees may still bomb as managers.
This is because managing people calls for leadership ability – a very different skill from production.
Leaders must be able to inspire others so that they want to follow. That requires fairness and respect for diversity, setting a good example and the abilities to communicate clearly, manage conflicts and sometimes give tough feedback.
It also requires a certain amount of attention to details and a willingness to do whatever needs to be done – even if it’s unpleasant.
Following are six guidelines that may help you decide whether employees would make good managers:
- Assess employees’360-degree relationships. That is, what are their relationships with managers, peers and people in lesser positions? Ask people whose opinions you trust what they think of the candidates.
- Observe employees in meetings and other interpersonal situations. When a decision needs to be made, do they ask others for their opinions, and if so, how intently do they listen to the answers?
- Take note of how employees handle disagreements with co-workers. Do they try to understand the other person’s position and find a mutually acceptable solution, or do they seek to push through their own agenda?
- Notice how employees perform in a crisis or stressful situation. Do they remain relatively calm and personable? Do they keep their sense of humor? Or do they become anxious, paralyzed or rude?
- Be aware of how employees respond to challenges. Do they welcome them? Do they volunteer for new projects? Or do they seem to stick with the familiar and resist change?
- Observe how much attention employees give to the details of their jobs. A manager’s job can succeed or fail depending on attention to detail. Do employees do whatever it takes to get a job done right? Or do they seem to spend most of their time on the tasks they enjoy at the expense of the less pleasant ones?
Having a good employee become a poor manager, unfortunately, is not uncommon. When it happens, the human and financial costs are high.
It’s worth your while to go slowly, assess all candidates carefully, and make a decision only when you have enough information – and the right information.
Promotion time: Top 10 skills employers seek
- Communication skills
- Leadership ability
- Academic achievement
- Interpersonal skills
- Technical skills
- Work ethic and problem-solving skills
National Association of Colleges and Employers