When is Your Employee Ready to be a Manager?

Nov 21, 2017

Employee to Manager Role

The role of HR manager includes numerous important tasks to keep your employees engaged and productive. One of the most overlooked tasks is evaluating when an employee is ready to be a manager.

Not every individual contributor in your company has the leadership qualities or the maturity that are required of a future leader in your company. However, you want to know from the moment you hire someone whether this individual has leadership potential.

Think of your role as a head coach managing your players. You have clear starters on your first team. However, a good coach is always training second and third team players to advance to the first team. You should be aware at all times who is ready to be the next person to fill those spots on your talent roster.

This approach to managing your managers and individual contributors should be part of the fabric of your company culture. For your company to continue growing, current managers need to receive training and individual contributors should be evaluated for training that grooms them to be future managers.

For those high-performing employees who are ready to be a manager, consider the five most important core competencies to evaluate in these individuals.

The 5 Core Competencies to Evaluate in Individual Contributors

Each individual contributor on your team should complete an assessment that ranks their core competencies low to high. Using the results, the core competencies you should focus on to determine whether employees are ready to be managers include:

1. Self-awareness. Does the employee initiate and take the lead? Does he or she realize and use their influence appropriately with their teammates? You should value the self-awareness competency from that perspective.

2. Personal accountability. Does the employee exhibit work ethic that matches a leadership role? Additionally, when they come to work, are they on-time, engaged, and professional?

3. Courage and candor. When evaluating individual contributors for a manager role, you should focus on whether they are capable of having tough conversations. Do they hold their teammates accountable? How effective are they talking about problems or situations that arise on the team? This will give you an idea of their managerial potential if they are already having effective, critical conversations with the team.

4. Communication. Does this person communicate changes, direction, or updates to the team, or initiate communication with their current manager? Or, does this employee not communicate things that would be important to their manager or the team? A lack of communication between manager and direct reports represents one of the biggest team breakdowns in companies. Therefore, an employee needs to rank high in this competency to be effective in a managerial role.

5. Empathy. Is this employee capable to build personal relationships with co-workers, clients, and vendors? Do they build trust or damage trust through their communication? You should evaluate their ability to develop inter-personal working relationships with their teammates.

Once you evaluate the competencies of individual contributors to see which employees have management potential, you should advance these employees to training that addresses their blind spots.

What Training Should Employees Receive for Management Roles?

The assessment results will guide you on which competencies should be targeted to address the employee's blind spots. By focusing on current blind spots, you can implement effective development programs.

These programs should focus on addressing:

  • The sources of the blind spots
  • Unwanted behavior that should be corrected
  • Decisions that impact their teammates and manager

Unfortunately, many training and development programs in the market do not address the sources of the blind spots. These programs only address symptoms, which means the training will not take root to lead to actual change.

People naturally revert to the path of least resistance. Therefore, if an employee has a blind spot and the root issue is not addressed, the employee will eventually return to their previous habits.

Effective training programs will address the thinking that ties back to the unwanted behavior that needs to be corrected in order for the employee to be ready for a manager role.

This process also highlights one of the biggest mistakes that companies make after their employees complete training.

What is the Biggest Mistake Companies Make with Training?

HR managers need to be aware of the type of training scheduled for employees. Too many training and development programs strive to be entertaining over providing substance that leads to behavioral change.

Your employees will not improve or change from a one-time event, half-day training, or reading a book. These programs do not address their thinking that leads to changed behavior and positive habit-forming.

Then, what happens is the employee returns to work without experiencing actual change. Companies often make a huge mistake relying on employee's blind spots being addressed through ineffective training.

If the employee is promoted to manager, they will carry that unchanged behavior and risky decision-making into their new role.

Your role is vital to ensure that individual contributors being groomed for managerial roles complete a full coaching and development program. This will addresses their blind spots and correct behavior before being promoted to manager.

Case Study: How This Process Delivers Real Results

ZERORISK HR studied a company that successfully implemented this process and realized great results after promoting the individual contributor to a manager.

A younger employee on the company's consulting team was responsible for high-level consulting with clients and resellers. The company evaluated this person's core competencies from their assessment and saw that all of the leadership competencies matched up for a managerial role. However, this person was missing experience because she had not led people before.

The company promoted the employee to assistant manager for one year and provided a six-month coaching and development program with mentorship.

Then, after the employee completed the program, she was promoted to manager. The company reported that this was "one of the best moves we've ever made."

The added benefit to the company was grooming their own talent to fill a first team spot on the roster. Instead of having to look outside of the company to find, hire, and train a new manager, the company was able to promote from within. This kept the team on track to remain productive and create growth opportunities for the company.

To get started on this process of evaluating when employees are ready for a manager role, consider the ZERORISK Clear Direction Manager Development Program. This will guide you on how to assemble your talent roster through evaluation of how managers and individual contributors are communicating, working together, and ultimately performing in your company.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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