5 ways to identify (good) future managers

Promoting an employee to an executive or management position is sometimes done with some doubts. Lou Adler, an American recruitment expert, offers some tips to know if the employee has “what it takes” to succeed.


  1. Identifying team players

A candidate for a management position will have to manage a team and all the personalities that compose it. When asked what is his greatest accomplishment, he should talk more about “we” than “I”, says Lou Adler, author of The Essential Guide for Hiring and Getting Hired. If he values team success more than his own personal achievements, he is more likely to be a good manager. Another good indicator is that he volunteers or asks to take the initiative in a team project.

  1. Keep an eye on his way of “coaching” employees or colleagues

A potential manager can be discovered in an employee who voluntarily provides advice and encouragement, all in a respectful manner. This approach is more common if the candidate already supervises employees, but it can also be seen in the form of mutual assistance between colleagues. A caring tip shows a concern to help his colleague learn and improve. An employee who dictates to others how to do something is not a good candidate however. He could prove to be more tyrannical than useful.

  1. Find out if the candidate was promoted on larger projects

The creator of “performance-based hiring” recommends enquiring about the candidate’s background to find out if he has in the past been promoted on team projects or to take the lead. If this promotion happened within six months of being hired, it’s an excellent sign demonstrating that his leadership was quickly noted and that he was trusted despite being a newcomer to the business.

  1. Compare his capabilities for analysis and performance

According to Lou Adler, leadership is the ability to visualize a solution to a complex problem and execute it successfully. He proposes presenting a difficult problem to the candidate and asking him to describe how he would plan to deal with it. His response must be as specific as possible. “I would use the strengths of each person,” for example, is far from sufficient. By gradually increasing the level of difficulty, one can determine the level of his capacity for analysis.

  1. Assess the quality of his development plans

Having management experience is far from ensuring that he knows how to manage his employees. How many mediocre managers stay in their jobs despite shortcomings? Lou Adler recommends asking a manager who already has management experience to describe his development plan for each of his employees. He must have a clear vision of the strengths and weaknesses of each one, as well as the steps to follow so this employee improves. If the manager doesn’t have a specific plan for his flock, it’s because he is not doing his job. Next!

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