Just because someone isn’t currently in a management role doesn’t mean they don’t have the capacity to be a great leader. Candidates with the right competencies can be found regardless of whether they’ve been a manager before; you just need to learn to identify the skills the individual needs to succeed in the position. To help you identify a great leader in a crowd of non-managers, here are some key traits to seek out.
A Penchant for Personal Development
People with leadership potential are rarely satisfied with the status quo when it comes to their career. Typically, they look for chances to gain new skills and develop ones they already possess. They are also inclined to take on additional responsibilities in their current and previous roles for the opportunities these learning experiences create. Often, they look to learn and grow on their own, and not because they were simply required to do so.
When interviewing candidates, ask them to speak about how they have worked to further their skills and if they have any plans for additional development in the future. By having them discuss these points, it quickly becomes clear who is self-motivated in these areas, and that can be a sign of a great leader.
Managers are often tasked with making difficult decisions in a short time frame, so finding applicants that are comfortable making tough calls may be essential. To assess the candidate’s experience, have them describe a situation where they had to make a critical decision, how they determined the best course of action, the result of their call, and what they learned along the way. This helps you glean information about how they handle the decision-making process.
Even if the person admits they made an error when they made the decision, if they learned something from the experience, they could still be a great candidate for management.
Appreciation for Feedback
Professionals understand the value of feedback and its role in allowing them to become better at their jobs. Top candidates often seek out input regarding their performance. They’re interested in learning what they are doing right, what is going wrong, and what can be done so they can improve. This allows them to grow personally and professionally, and they are often able to receive the information, whether positive or negative, with a sense of dignity.
As you interview candidates, have them speak about a time when they sought feedback and how they proceeded once they heard the good or bad news. This provides you with insights regarding their general character which can help you determine their level of leadership potential.
If your business would like help finding the ideal candidate for a leadership role, regardless of whether prior experience is required, the team of professionals at MindFinders has the expertise needed to get the job done right. As a leading IT staffing firm in the DC area, we have the ability to spearhead your search for the right applicants for any open position.
Written by Tim Booker, President and CEO of MindFinders, with over 20 years of industry experience.