Polishing rough gems
Written by: Renée LeMoine
Photo by: Vojtěch Vlk
“Last year our company conducted a major recruitment, but we are still short two managers. Although our sales continue to grow, the CEO has put a moratorium on hiring.
This is a perfect opportunity to take a look around at the untapped potential in budding leaders. Looking at existing talent with a new vision, rather than always seeking new blood, might just be an outstanding alternative to getting more for less.
The company’s best performers usually look at management positions as a way to move up in the organization. While there’s little argument that top performers deserve to be rewarded, moving them into management might not be the best thing for some individuals or the organization. Unfortunately, some top performers end up being “retired into management.” Consider for example, that your top sales person may not be the best manager. Instead, assess the latent talent that may have been overlooked by the recruitment quest. Go directly to team members and ask, “whom do you consult if your manager isn’t around?” “Who is the best at this or that?” “How do you feel about working with him or her?”
You may be surprised to find that you have a highly respected and well-qualified gem in the rough, someone who is already demonstrating good coaching and people building activities. As can be expected, these gems will require careful leadership dev-elopment:
- Present them with the realities of management, and make it clear that it will be harder than anything that they have ever done before. Those who aren’t ready, may eliminate themselves if they don’t feel comfortable with the notion.
- If the candidate has agreed to take on the challenge, give them temporary assignments that will place them in a typical management situation. Watch how they handle each situation. Slowly build up their responsibilities as they prove themselves able to competently manage each new challenge.
- Provide instant and clear feedback about their effectiveness. Keep them motivated by providing training for their weaknesses and rewarding their strengths.
Article prepared by Renée LeMoine, Executive Director, LeMoine & Associates