If you run a profitable company – one that is outgrowing your ability to run everything on your own, handing over some leadership will be inevitable. And your mental and emotional health will depend on it.
You may have set your sights on a few long-time employees who define excellence in everything they do, but that doesn’t necessarily qualify them for a leadership position. Many who fit this description are quite comfortable where they are, and they may even be ready for a promotion, but not necessarily into one where he or she leads or manages other employees. And then there are others who crave a management position, believing it will come with a raise and an entrée into authority.
Picking a leader is one of the most challenging things business owners face. If the wrong person is selected for the job, it will be very difficult to strip them of their title and reverse the increase in pay. And even when it’s done, repositioning them back into their prior position may not be an option as the embarrassment that comes with a demotion is usually too much weight to bear.
When thinking of promoting someone into a leadership position within your company, consider the following five criteria:
1. Make sure they understand your business, your industry and your customers. This should serve as a benchmark. You simply cannot lead without understanding upstream and downstream business issues and understanding buyers. Focus on those people who take the initiative to learn and attack new challenges at every opportunity. These are the people who will bleed for your company.
2. They have earned the respect of everyone around them. You know who the likeable employees are – they have a sense of humor and know how to make friends with everyone. They have the charisma and are great at building customer relationships. But, do they lead by example of living a life of integrity, courage and hard work?
3. They are goal-driven. There are two types of great employees – those who come to work and do a great job every day in every way. And there are those who do everything expected of them and far beyond to advance in their career, always looking to conquer their next goal. These are the people who will inspire everyone in or on their team.
4. They work well with everyone. Yes, everyone. And the way they work well with everyone is by earning respect. Next, they practice critical leadership skills such as Active Listening, empathy, efficient conflict-resolution skills and do quite well at helping others resolve their own problems.
5. They aren’t intimidated. Leaders don’t beat around the bush. They don’t wait and see if everything will get better tomorrow. Leaders understand that time waiting is time wasting and get things done without worrying about office politics. It’s another reason they earn respect. These are the people who do what they know they need to do without hesitation.
If you know of people within your company or organization who exemplify any of these traits, and you are thinking about offering him of her a leadership position, perhaps the wisest investment to make is one into leadership training.
Your employees will appreciate it, and respect your decision.