At its very core, a business cannot thrive unless it has excellent workers and excellent leadership. Very few “excellent” workers will remain excellent if they find their efforts go unnoticed or unrewarded by management, or if they see the business itself spiraling into the ground because of inept management decisions. Rather than stay in such an environment, these workers will find more pleasant employment elsewhere.
Some will even start up their own businesses. Those that want to start their own businesses possess that intangible “leadership” potential – they know how a business should be run and what needs to be done to keep it successful.
It is important, therefore, that these particular employees, the ones with leadership potential, be identified and promoted into management positions where their abilities and skills will bear fruit.
Not everyone wants to be a leader
Many “excellent” workers thrive because they have no responsibility beyond their own specific job – they like being given instructions on what to do, and then they do it – very well. They would be lost if they were moved up in the hierarchy to a position where they had to tell others what to do.
To promote such individuals out of their comfort zone is usually a recipe for disaster.
Not everyone can be a leader
There are a subset of employees who are good (or even not so good) at their jobs, and want to be promoted into a management level because they feel they’d be good at it, but for whatever reason they won’t be. Either they have no people skills and are too overbearing, or they just aren’t good enough at their job and so will not be able to earn the respect of those workers under them whom they are telling what to do.
How to identify good leaders
Depending on how many employees are in your company, you will doubtless have people divided into teams. In a team environment, potential leaders will usually come to the forefront. They will be outspoken in weekly meetings, giving their opinions and advice on the project under discussion.
It is the responsibility of supervisors to be aware of the potentialities of team leaders. Are these outspoken individuals contributing good work? How do their fellow team members respond to them – are they browbeaten or do they recognize this leader as the best person for the job?
Another way to discover employees with leadership potential is to foster open communication and programs where employees can suggest ways to improve the processes or procedures of their team, their division, or of the company in general. Anyone who comes forward with suggestions usually has the knowledge, the ambition and the drive to be a leader. If they have the people skills as well, that is usually a winning combination.
Many leaders are born with great people skills, and the ability to draw the best out of their employees. However, leadership can be taught.
Any business that is structured with team leaders, supervisors, and other upper management positions should also put in place a leadership training program. Many individuals who were excellent team leaders flounder when thrown into the larger role of a supervisor, but can find their feet with proper training.
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