You are strongly considering promoting your star employee to manager. After all, he or she has proven to be the most dependable employee you have. It only makes sense to have your top performer take on the role of managing others. All that goodness is bound to rub off on everyone else, right?
Not necessarily. Time and time again, leaders make the mistake of promoting employees who excel in their positions without truly understanding if their new manager can effectively manage a team or a project. That's why so many first-time managers fail. They are promoted because they are good at their jobs, not because they possess the necessary skills to be a productive manager.
Before you make any decisions, take a look at your entire team, and promote the individual with the following characteristics.
1. Shows a Desire to Manage
Not everyone wants to become a manager. Some employees are and will continue to be perfectly content with excelling in their current role. Announce that you are considering promoting someone from within, and invite anyone who is interested to submit his or her name for consideration.
2. Takes on New Roles and Responsibilities
Your new manager will be thrown into a whole new world of responsibilities, so ensure that he or she is ready to take on that challenge. Employees who regularly volunteer for extra assignments, offer to cover for you when you are away, or actively take the time to learn more about the business and the industry are the ones who are hungry to learn more and play a larger role within the business.
3. Possesses People Skills
The best managers can read a situation and respond appropriately. They have the ability to build rapport with employees and interact with them in a comfortable way. Consider your employees who are strong team players and who get along well with everyone. The perfect person for the job is someone who can motivate the rest of the team even when things seem bleak.
4. Manages Conflict Appropriately
No workplace is void of conflict, and some conflict is actually healthy, as it forces people to come up with new and better ways to work together. You need a manager who won't avoid conflict, but instead will confront it and work hard to resolve any issues. Good managers will also be able to discern between “good conflict” and “bad conflict,” and address each appropriately.
5. Communicates Effectively
Poor communicators cause misunderstandings and confusion, which often lead to conflict, reduced productivity and even morale issues. Promote the employee who is comfortable speaking in front of the group and who can convey a message clearly and articulately in both speech and writing. Additionally, find someone who is a really attentive listener.
6. Solves Problems
Managers regularly have to put out fires and make quick decisions. Ensure that the employee you promote has consistently shown sound judgment. The best candidate will also have proven problem-solving capabilities. You've witnessed him or her take a deliberate and methodical approach to figuring out the root of a problem and then working to resolve the issue, rather than coming up with only temporary solutions.
7. Accepts Accountability
Those employees who constantly make up excuses or find a person or circumstance to blame their failures on aren't management material. Managers must accept all the blame when something goes wrong and share the credit when something goes right. You need someone who takes ownership of every problem, whether that person is responsible for it or not. Consider only those people who you have heard admit when they are wrong, who take ownership of their mistakes and who praise their co-workers often.
8. Stays Levelheaded
No one wants to work for a hothead who blows up at the slightest mistake or the panic-stricken boss who buckles under pressure. Find the person who stays calm, controls his or her emotions, and focuses on resolving a problem. Good managers find a learning opportunity in every situation, so promote those people who find value in even the biggest mistakes or setbacks.
9. Sees the Big Picture
As an employee, you can often get lost in your own little world and focus only on your own objectives. Managers, however, must have the ability to stay focused on the team goal, ensuring that everyone works together to reach that common goal. That means being able to make the tough, unpopular decisions for the good of the team. Look for those employees who regularly talk about how a decision will affect other people or parts of the business, as well as those who always seem to have the company's goals in mind.
10. Gets the Job Done
While success in a particular job isn't the only thing you should consider when promoting an employee, it is definitely important. You need a manager who will do whatever it takes to ensure that the work is completed correctly and on time. This often means rolling up his or her sleeves and doing some of the dirty work alongside lower-level employees. You want someone who doesn't miss deadlines and who meets his or her goals despite obstacles.
Great managers exhibit a wide array of traits that, when put together, can catalyze great things in a company. These traits are likely already in your employee pool, waiting to be cultivated through taking that extra shift or learning more about the business. You might even notice some beneficial side effects from the attention you’re giving to your managerial candidates.