Many managers fall into a trap of managing by personality. Managing by personality is where someone is being evaluated based on how the boss feels about them (liking them vs. not liking them). As if it isn’t obvious, the problem with that is that you miss seeing the potential in what could be your next best leader. The other problem with doing this is that you could promote someone into a leadership role who really isn’t the best fit.
Avoid judging people based solely on how you feel about them. Instead try to observe the following 6 traits to determine if someone is a fierce future leader.
Don’t Scratch the Surface Carve Deeply Into It:
There may be dormant leadership abilities if you go deeper under the surface. They may not be the funniest they may even play a bad game of golf but they do their job really well. Put your magnifying glass over their strengths and stop scrutinizing their weaknesses. You will be surprised to find that those you have rejected so readily have far more value to offer than you thought.
Hunger for Knowledge:
Look for people who are not only starved for new skills but who also seek to improve their behavior. These people are always asking for more responsibility, more assignments, how to do their job better. They frequently go beyond the “can do” attitude by being a perpetual learner. They are also submitting PO’s for outside training’s and enthusiastically willing to dive into new or different work than they are commonly assigned.
Not a Cowardly Lion:
These are the ones who are unafraid of stepping up to a challenge or the unknown. They admirably take on risks that could jeopardize their reputation. While you may find that you have to guide them back away from the ledge they show signs of learning and adopting the contextual boundaries.
A primary item on the menu for leadership is the ability to take decisive action, move forward and correct the course quickly as needed. These are the people who know what is right and won’t allow criticism of their vision stop them. They are able to control their emotions enough to where other people’s thoughts don’t become barriers. They will also show their discipline in their personal life often doing things that most won’t do: learn a new language, take culinary classes, freelance writing or taking piano lessons.
These are the people who build bridges and bonds with other people. They seek to create, build and maintain relationships across departments. This is where your introverts and individual contributors can really shine but you have to look. These people will naturally reach out to others for help and crave collaboration. They are highly polished and professionally mature in their communication and relationships.
The Grounding of a Lightening Rod:
These are your even keeled, unwavering, level headed and reliable employees. They are seldom paralyzed by bumps in the road or change. As a result of their influence they are able to get others to jump on board easily. You may find that you confide in them when a big change is coming and that they are able to help you enlist others more easily.
Today, more than ever, we are faced with a leadership gap. We have to focus more on uncovering the hidden, non-flashy and dormant leaders that we are surrounded by. You have to go beyond the surface and look past your non-objective views of the individual.
Delegate more to those people whom you identify have a combination of these 6 traits as a means of testing their leadership ability. Meet with them regularly to discuss challenges and successes. Feed the traits they are good at through abundant praise. Teach them how to compensate for their weaknesses by identifying them as strengths in others and then enlisting them to their cause.Take these steps today to close the leadership gap.
More Actionable Advice:
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