Hiring Great Leaders for your Business – Look for These Traits.
Recruitment is always a difficult task, especially when you’re looking to hire management. If you pass up loyal staff to hire outside of the company, you may inadvertently create conflict and damage morale. No one wants that, least of all you! Making the correct decision is essential to your enterprise’s growth strategy, but how do you decide? What traits do you look for?
When possible, hire from within
Promoting leadership from within the company’s ranks is almost always ideal. Existing employees know the strengths and weaknesses of their co-workers, they know the ins and outs of your business and its products, and they are already situated and comfortable in the office culture. While the pedigree of an outside candidate’s resume might appeal to you, remember that you’re looking for potential over performance.
The first and most important role of leadership is to anticipate industry changes and act on them before they become standard. The best leaders are never satisfied and always push to improve your company’s products and services, and often the candidate with the most experience is also the one most set in their ways. Identify employees who show an aptitude for getting things done even when complications arise. Their problem-solving, proactive, self-sufficient nature highlights them as a person of interest, but how do you know if they can be responsible?
Vital to your decision-making process is finding a candidate who doesn’t shy away from failure—they embrace it. While failure might represent a cost to your enterprise, employees who take responsibility for their actions and seek to improve are precisely the kind of life-long learner you want in a leadership position. Avoid individuals who shift blame or change the subject whenever the conversation turns to their moment of weakness. Thomas Edison famously failed a thousand times to create the light bulb. Rather than make excuses, he pushed forward and refused to let failure stop him from succeeding, because in the end—he only needed to get it right once to revolutionize the industry.
Once you’ve made a short list of prospects, give each of the additional responsibilities and gauge their response and timeliness. Keep in mind that these new tasks should fall outside their job description, but avoid burdening employees that are already overworked as this will skew the results of this test. Individuals prime for leadership will attack their new tasks with enthusiasm and a desire to prove themselves worthy of the attention you’ve given them rather than resentful of the additional workload. They know that the more you rely on them, the more they benefit when bonus time comes around.
A great leader can get their message across quickly and efficiently, even if it isn’t a popular one. Clear, concise explanation and emotional intelligence are critical aspects of the attuned, empathic leader. Equally important is their ability to listen rather than dominate every conversation, because no one is right all the time. Communication is a two-way street, and the ideal leader is someone who takes criticism well, takes the time to bond with co-workers and build professional relationships with them. A leader also recognizes that the team has to come first and that it is they who make the leader strong rather than the other way around.
If you spot these traits in your staff, start grooming them for leadership positions as soon as possible. It is a time-consuming effort that requires sensitivity and patience, but you’ll reap the long-term benefits.