Are you born with leadership skills or is it something that you learn? This is a question which has divided some of our greatest modern thinkers. My belief is that there are indeed some people who have a natural bent towards leadership but in most cases it is something that can be learned if taught well.
As an employer, you should invest time in developing the skills of your employees. Some employees will naturally progress quicker than others and you need to be able to spot those that are natural leaders in order for your business to progress. Having the wrong people in positions of leadership can cause havoc in your organization and it is crucial that you promote the right people. Here are some things that you can do to make the right staffing choices within your business.
1. Hold a group interview
If you are recruiting new staff, then one of best ways to really spot their leadership potential is by holding a group interview. These types of interviews have become much more common in recent years and a lot of companies now do all of their recruiting this way. Group interviews are usually made up of three or four sections with a task in each section. The candidates then have to work together to complete the tasks or take it in turns to do a sales pitch for one of your products. There will usually be one or two natural leaders that stand out in this kind of situation. These will be the ones who very quickly have a suggestion about how the task should be done but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be the loudest. Loud isn’t always good. Who is logical and diplomatic? Who is getting stuck in, voicing their opinions yet not being overbearing? These are the ones that you want!
2. Who do your staff follow?
Everyone follows someone; either for good or bad. Organize a staff away day or team building trip and try to see who your staff naturally gravitate to sit next to. Who do they ask questions of and look to for advice within their peers? These kinds of people will fit seamlessly into a managerial role as they already have the respect of their fellow employees.
3. Give your staff a challenge
If you think you have spotted a business team member with leadership potential, then a good way to test it out is by increasing their responsibility or giving them a particular task and seeing how they cope. Asking them to lead a staff meeting or organizing a staff day out are good tasks to start out with as there is minimal risk to your business if they go wrong.
4. Characteristics of a leader
Whilst you can’t tar everyone with the same brush, there are some common characteristics found amongst leaders. Some of these are; forward planning, honesty, showing initiative, fair thinking, confidence and a strong problem solving ability. As a business owner, it is in your interest to know your employees. Go out of your way to have conversations and catch ups with each member of your team and get to know them. This will enable you to make more informed decisions when it comes to internal promotions.
There really is no set formula for recognizing and promoting leaders within your organizations. Sometimes it just comes down to intuition but the things that I have mentioned above will help to make sure that you make the right decision first time around!
Vicky Dean is a freelance writer with a special interest in writing about leadership development and management training.