Not all of your employees are going to be management material. Some might be great salesmen, but unable to lead a team. Others might be wonderful at rallying the troops, but lack the ability to discuss performance issues with employees who were once their peers. Rebecca Knight of the Harvard Business Review spoke with Anna Ranieri, author of Connecting the Dots: Telling the Story to Advance Your Career, and Linda Hill, a professor at Harvard Business School, about what it takes to assess an employee's management potential. Here are Knight's key takeaways:
- Find Out If They're Interested - Ranieri advises employers to ask employees not only if they want to be in management, but also to ask them to define what they feel a management role is. Hill further instructs employers to "ask yourself, 'Have I ever seen an instance where this candidate took on a leader-like role, not just a star performer role?'"
- Determine Their Experience - Ranieri suggests gauging your employee's "understanding of the organization - its culture, its needs, and where [they] think it's going." She also says to ask the employee about their activities outside of the office to determine if any of their hobbies include leading a team, such as organizing an event for a charity.
- Talk to Their Team - Both Ranieri and Hill advise speaking not only with the employee's manager, but also with their peers to determine how they work in a group. “Maybe the bosses are happy, but peers tell a different story,” [Hill] says.
- Watch Them - Observe how your employee completes day-to-day tasks. Are they organized when they go to meetings? Do they encourage their coworkers? Watching how they perform in the workplace will give you good information about whether that employee is ready to lead.
- Follow the Red Flags - If you see a red flag from your potential manager, such as they "are not open to feedback," Knight writes, you should pay attention. Seeing those red flags before an employee is a manager could mean that those traits will not improve when they're in charge.
- Take a Chance - Both Hill and Ranieri emphasize that no employee is perfect. They tell employers to remember that someone once took a chance on them and giving their employee a chance could be just what the employee needs to jump-start their career with the company.
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