Companies today need to prepare for tomorrow’s leaders, but how do you assess the best elements in your teams? Some best practices to recognize potential future managers.
1. See the future in your crystal ball
Before identifying potential future managers, the supervisor of a team needs to have a good idea of the company’s future goals and to think based on that horizon. “Many managers make the mistake of investing in leaders who develop well in their current context, but who may not match future assignments,” says Chantal Boutin, human resources consultant and specialist in coaching management teams with the Axxio firm. In other words, you have to know where you are going and rally the troops who are willing and able to march in that direction.
2. Don’t only consider expertise
Your employee may be the best technician in his field or the best-known specialist in his discipline, but this doesn’t necessarily make him a leader. “We need rather to direct toward leadership those with a great sense of teamwork, good listeners, who have a certain power of influence and an ability to inspire confidence,” details the human resources consultant.
3. Take advantage of the performance assessment
Most companies have already put an assessment structure in place for their employees, and this is an excellent practice. “But you have to go further,” explains Chantal Boutin. “Make sure to include in the assessment questions to test your employees’ leadership. Some of them might surprise you. Then you have to maintain an open conversation with them about this subject.”
4. Always be on the lookout
“You have to always be observing your teams with the eye of a headhunter, to identify the manager’s qualities that could emerge in one or the other in many work situations,” advises Chantal Boutin. Team meetings are a privileged space to observe your flock, but also be on the lookout for their daily behaviour. Without becoming an obsessive micromanager, try not to miss the moments when you could take note of the good moves of a leader in the making. You can also assign an employee to a special project to “test the waters”.
5. Don’t overlook psychometric tests
Once you have identified a leader, it will be very useful to carry out a battery of tests to learn more about it. “They don’t replace your good judgement, but they can help you better understand the employee’s personality.” And boom!