Whether you’re hiring from outside or promoting from within, companies have a lot riding on putting the right people in supervisory positions. How can HR help identify the best leaders for the organization?
When interviewing managerial candidates, it’s important to make sure they have these key qualities:
- Adaptability — It’s a fact of the workplace: No two employees are exactly alike. Managers need to be able to adjust their approaches and figure out how to get the most out of different types of workers.
- Problem-solving skills — Managers deal with countless issues over the course of their careers. Often, the best managers don’t come in with a wealth of technical experience but know how to learn on the fly and come up with solutions to new problems.
- Comfort during conflict — One thing’s sure about being a supervisor — there’s never a shortage of unpleasant situations. If it sounds like a candidate has always run away from conflict rather than dealing with it head-on, that’s a bad sign.
- Confidence — Managing also frequently involves making risky choices. Good supervisors are comfortable with that and have confidence in themselves and their decisions.
- People skills — Communication is essential. Of course, managers need to give useful feedback, but they should also be able to get input from employees and listen and respond to criticism.
Promoting from within
When you’re promoting a current employee, there’s one rule to keep in mind: The best employees don’t always make the best supervisors.
So how do you know who should be put into a leadership position? Here are two important skills to look for and how you can verify that employees have them:
- Ability to take on extra work — Sure, employees may be successful with their current workloads, but the extra responsibilities required of a manager are a whole different ballgame. When your organization is considering promoting employees, give them some more to do and see how they handle it.
- Training skills — Another good test is to let the potential manager train new employees. That will speak volumes about how he or she would perform in a leadership role.