What Makes a Great Leader? It May Not Be What You Think

Your highest-performing employees- the ones with the most knowledge about the company- may be who you’re earmarking for leadership positions. But, not all great workers make great leaders. As a matter of fact, good leadership can have little to do with the ability to produce as an employee. Your company’s “stars” may be getting your attention, but they may not be the best managers. The following are a few things you should consider when promoting employees into leadership roles.

LOOK FOR LEADERSHIP QUALITIES– People who are natural mentors to their coworkers, are innovative, are enthusiastic about change, and are looked up to by their colleagues are the ones you should target for management. Top employees may be fastest, or most accurate, or most knowledgeable. But, managers need a different skillset: they need to be able to connect, communicate, and inspire a team. Good leaders aren’t in it for themselves. They’re in it for the success of the company.

LOOK FOR PREVIOUS LEADERSHIP- While previous management experience doesn’t guarantee someone will be a great manager (they may have been misplaced), it does indicate that a person has practiced giving instruction to others, driving a team, and evaluating performance. Keep in mind that not all leadership is learned in the workplace, either. Perhaps the leadership experience was gained as part of a sports team or volunteer organization. Be sure to thoroughly review a candidate’s background- not just their job performance and history- before assigning a management role.

LOOK FOR THE DESIRE TO LEAD– Natural leaders will emerge through team projects, a willingness to grow and develop through outside classes and workshops, bringing new ideas to the table, exploring new technologies, etc. This may not be the person with the highest quarterly sales, but he/she may be the one who suggests a new incentive program, for example. Seek out those who have been demonstrating true leadership no matter what their position.

Keeping an eye on your current and future management structure is vital. It is imperative that you provide training for your leaders and future leaders. This is part of succession planning and investing in the future of the company. You should always be preparing for the progression of your employees. That keeps the company healthy and poised for growth.

If your company needs help with leadership development and training plans, please reach out to the Resource Squad and let us help you.