Chances are, there are a few great leaders on your team that aren't yet in managerial positions. Some of them may already take on the role of a manager without claiming the title, while others may show subtle signs that they've got what it takes to lead.
Just as the wrong hire is costly, so is the wrong promotion. A recent article in Inc. magazine polled 15 leaders to get their thoughts on identifying leadership potential. While there are no “silver bullets,” everything listed is a strong indicator of the aptitude it takes to lead, and should be included in your decision to promote from within.
Here they are in no specific order:
1. They change their vocabulary from "mine" to "ours."
Going from being an employee to a manager occurs when team members hit a tipping point. It's normally a point when they begin to understand a manager's point of view. Look for subtle changes in a team member's conduct. This may be a simple choice of words. An employee may use the term I, mine or me. Those ready to assume a management role may choose words like ours, we or us.
2. They prove they can manage themselves.
One key indicator that an employee has really come into their own is when they require less and less time to manage. They know what needs to be done and make sure it happens, they learn to spot opportunities and coordinate actions to seize them. The only way someone can ever hope to be a manager is if they can manage themselves, and this is typically evidence enough that they're ready.
3. They look out for others.
If an employee is concerned for their co-worker's success as much as their own on a group project, that's usually a very good sign you have a team player that wants others to succeed. Great managers are selfless leaders that want the unit to succeed together.
. They take responsibility.
A sign of a leader ready to take on a managerial role is the ability to take responsibility for themselves or the team. The people you lead will give you respect if you own your decisions, regardless of the outcome.
5. They excel above expectations.
The sign of a good leader is if they are going above and beyond consistently. When you naturally see them leading others in their work--when they excel far above expectations in everything they are doing--it's time for a promotion. You don't want to lose them to someone else that's willing to give them that promotion when you're not!
6. They actually want to take it on.
It's very simple. The most important sign is that they want to be in a managerial role and they ask for it
7. They've mastered their technical craft.
Once team members have mastered their technical craft--but before they get bored--I begin to explore their interest in leading others. Some people are quite content in their individual contributor role, and there's nothing wrong with that. Others, however, crave opportunities that bring new challenges.
8. They already manage without realizing it.
When a staff member is ready to take on a managerial role, they've already taken on a managerial role without realizing it. Often, I'll notice that they're helping other employees with the marketing plans, giving advice on how to deal with a difficult client, or making the new intern feel welcome. When somebody truly wants to be in that role, they do it without even trying because they enjoy it.
9. They go above and beyond in completing their tasks.
It's very telling when someone goes above and beyond, completing required tasks and ensuring everything is effectively coordinated with the team. If they have a natural affinity for this kind of coordination, they are probably a good fit.
10. They show ingenuity.
A great manager is someone who not only manages existing tasks, but also takes initiative in creating or improving other tasks and processes for the benefit of the company. Potential managers who demonstrate these traits also tend to display ingenuity and critical thinking in the ways they perform on a daily basis, which tells me they are ready to take on more responsibilities.
11. They look for solutions.
Future leaders bring solutions instead of problems. A good manager will understand and have mastered this art form
12. They help others.
When you see team members going to a certain person with questions, that's a clue. When that person has the answer or promises to seek out and deliver the answer, they should be on your radar for moving up into management. When they help other team members and still accomplish their own job, that's the definition of a good manager
13. They show ownership.
One sign is that the employee regularly shows a feeling of pride and ownership in their work. Leading a team is about understanding the big picture and internalizing not only what it will take to get there, but understanding how the assets available to you can help you realize that picture. Employees who approach every task as if its success or failure is a direct reflection on them are on track
14. They volunteer for leadership roles.
A team member who steps up to the plate and takes a leadership role (whether it's in a team project setting or other environment) is sure to be ready for management. These situations present themselves often, and those who take the bull by the horns are the ones who are ready for the next step.
15. They're proactive.
You never want employees to be on auto-pilot, but there is something to be said when a team member jumpstarts their workload without having to instruct them further. When you find team members proactively asking questions to improve their output to the company, that's when you know they may be ready.
Information provided by Inc. Magazine and the Young Entrepreneur Council