If one of your top leaders left your organization tomorrow, what would happen?
Would you start looking for an outside replacement – even though the process is tedious, and you’re never absolutely sure that a candidate will be the right fit?
Often, the better alternative is to promote your next leader from within your company.
There are numerous benefits to promoting a current employee:
- They already have a working knowledge of company culture and processes.
- You’ve been able to see their skillsets, work ethic, and cultural fit in action.
- Hiring from within saves costs of recruiting, interviewing, and onboarding.
- Outside hires typically require higher salaries.
Succession planning prepares future leaders and saves your company time and money when transition occurs. Recognizing winning talent doesn’t have to be so stressful when you know what to look for. A defined set of reasons to promote can be a great start.
To determine who on your team is ready to move into a manager role, evaluate your internal candidates based on these 7 criteria for promotion:
1. Your employee is committed to personal growth and wants to be promoted.
Passion for growth is not a priority for everyone, which is why recognizing an ambitious employee will help you promote the right person. Our own desires are great self-motivators. If someone genuinely wants to become a manager, they will demonstrate that they are willing to take up new responsibilities. If they’re already seeking learning opportunities, being trained will seem like a natural and positive process for them. No one wants to be forced into a new job, and that’s exactly what you want to avoid when promoting an employee to a management position. It’s hard to justify promotion when the employee doesn’t want it in the first place .
2. They exemplify the culture of the organization.
Company culture can’t always be defined in simple terms and is usually described by employees differently depending on their own core values and beliefs. Regardless of stated company values, oftentimes, the real culture of an organization is created by the management team. The outlook that managers project trickles through to the team members and defines the atmosphere in the workplace. The behaviors that a manager displays can affect everything from employee turnover to morale.
Start by looking at the core values of your company. Then, identify employees who showcase some of the qualities that map to those values. Going through this process will get you one step closer to recognizing and promoting the right person.
3. They possess strong soft skills – they are adept at communicating and listening.
Effective communication is key to every professional and personal relationship. Look for someone who delivers clear and concise messages within the team but does it in a friendly and transparent manner. You can also evaluate how the employee “communicates up” – whether they can match their boss’ style of communicating. At the same time, look for a confident communicator, the one who is ready to defend their point of view, or pitch an idea they really believe in.
One of the most important aspects of communication is listening. The ability to hear employees out and adjust the course of the conversation will lead to the most efficient outcomes. Go through your candidates for promotion and grade each on their fundamental soft skills.
4. Self-starters make great managers.
Being autonomous is a common trait that many business leaders look for in a new hire. Being a self-starter is advantageous since a lot of jobs require some level of personal responsibility. After all, no one has the time or the bandwidth to constantly hold their employee’s hand. A manager’s role requires even more independent thinking, whether it’s applied towards resolving a conflict or allocating budget for a project. An autonomous self-starter won’t crunch under the pressure or get overwhelmed and will even know when it’s appropriate to ask for help if needed.
5. They are a creative problem solver.
Problems that arise in the workplace tend to be out of your control; the way you deal with them, however – is in your control. Everyone approaches problems differently, but a manager should be able to resolve them calmly and creatively. Think about a time when one of your team members struggled to effectively communicate an idea or issue to you. How did they deliver the news? Did they get frustrated or frazzled, did they expect you to give them directions or did they propose an effective solution?
Having new responsibilities will require the manager to creatively solve their own problems, as well as guide their employees towards beneficial solutions. Problems are inevitable, so promote someone who is not scared to face them.
6. The employee has technical chops and is an expert in their field.
If someone hasn’t mastered the skill of their current job, they are not ready for promotion. Knowing the responsibilities in and out and performing them with confidence will ensure a smooth transition into a manager for two reasons:
- They might have to continue performing familiar tasks while having to learn and execute additional responsibilities. Your manager will have a team to lead so tasks related to the previous job will have to be done in a fast and efficient manner.
- The new job will include learning and perfecting new skills. If you know that your employee has done that before in a previous position, they’re more likely to grasp their new responsibilities as a manager.
7. They know how to be empathetic; they naturally connect with people and get along with the team.
A manager’s job includes a great deal of communicating up and down within the organization. Interacting with team members can be one of the most difficult and demanding responsibilities of a manager. The managing style of your promoted employee will lead their team to success or failure.
Some of the qualities to look for in the candidate for promotion are empathy and willingness to connect with others. Your manager has to be a people person, acknowledge the feelings of others, and realize some of the impulses behind behaviors. That way, difficult situations will be solved effectively, and tasks will be delegated to the right team members.
Your current team members are the future of your organization.
Secure the best managers by defining your promotion criteria – and then providing team members with the tools they need to achieve the benchmarks you’ve set.
By investing time and resources into succession planning and promoting from within you will have a strong team that will lead your company to success.