It’s not always easy to tell whether someone is ready to lead. Does that imply a star performer can obtain the same level of performance from others?
A star performer may have high-quality abilities, outstanding performance, and a positive attitude, but does that mean they can get the same level of performance from others?
Senior leaders have been damaged in the past by either elevating employees into leadership positions too soon or failing to see that certain solo achievers make poor managers. Worse, they are oblivious to the consequences of elevating a colleague (or friend) to a managerial position (the boss).
If others on the team fought for the job, this “buddy to boss” scenario may be sticky and laden with interpersonal difficulties.
Leaders would be smart to take a step back and consider whether or not their star performer is really prepared to lead and develop a following. Here are five things to ask that can help you figure out what to look for in a great performer to see whether they’re ready to lead.
Can they put their own feelings aside?
New leaders who ask questions and listen to their team will gain rapport (and respect) quicker than those who brag about their expertise and views. Star performers are well aware of their abilities.
How they speak about their performance may have a big impact on whether or not they get followers.
Who do you want to watch more closely? Who is more interested in your ideas: the person who speaks about themselves and expresses their views first, or the one who is really interested in your ideas?
Star performers who can set their own views aside and listen to the team are well-suited for leadership positions.
Is it possible for them to concentrate on the future?
Focusing on the past is a lengthy and winding path that leads nowhere. Leaders who speak about the past inadvertently demotivate their teams since the past is a place we have no control over.
Some new leaders may talk about their work at previous businesses or how they conducted their job before becoming a leader. Because the conditions of the past are often very different from those of the present, most individuals find that knowledge useless.
An essential leadership talent is the capacity to concentrate on the future and (metaphorically) “paint a picture” of the effect the team will have in their job. Consider someone’s capacity to be future-oriented when evaluating them for a leadership position.
It will set them up for success as a leader.
Is it possible for them to take a social step back?
Those new to leadership often want to be liked, and in order to do so, they socialize with the team. Going to happy hours, having lunch together, or hanging out during “off hours” social activities are all examples of this.
These habits, especially at the outset of a new leadership position, may jeopardize rather than improve performance. When the urge to be friends is a priority, it’s tough to hold individuals responsible, preserve confidentiality, and remain objective.
While being socially pleasant and engaged is permissible (and even helpful) for team growth, leadership isn’t about making friends. If this is something that the top performer who is being considered for leadership cares about, it may be a sign that they aren’t ready.
Is it possible for them to solicit and accept feedback?
When it comes to leading for the first time, there is a lot to learn, therefore a willingness to evaluate one’s actions and effect is essential. Because they regularly perform at a high level, star performers seldom get critical criticism.
Getting outcomes via others, or leading, requires a variety of abilities, including the ability to receive advise and even criticism. The quicker a new leader learns and performs in their new position, the more receptive they are to criticism.
Star performers who argue or get defensive when given criticism may not be ready for leadership right away.
Will they be able to let go?
High-achievers are excellent at getting things done. They solve issues on their own as they occur. They are typically the ones who step up and finish the job when balls are dropped or deadlines are missed.
They’re usually heroes who come in to save the day.
This is excellent for individual achievement, but not so much for leadership. In situations like these, the new leader must be willing to let go of their own abilities and either educate or lead the team through the problem-solving process.
If balls are dropped, it is necessary to hold people responsible for their job. Managing workload and the issues that come with it is a common leadership task.
Instead of fixing the issue on their own, the behaviors that prepare individuals for leadership include a readiness to press stop, think about the situation, and enlist the help of the appropriate people.
These five questions are a good place to start when thinking about a stellar performer for a leadership position. Start there if you’ve never addressed these ideas with them as their employer. Discuss the distinctions between individual achievement and leadership with them.
The good news is that answering no to one or more of the questions does not rule out the possibility of becoming a manager. It just implies that they may need a little more time to acquire the characteristics that will help them succeed.