According to research, 40% of internal job moves made by people identified by their companies as "high potentials" end in failure. Many organisations make the mistake of looking simply at ability when assessing an employee for a management job. What questions can you ask about your high potential leaders that will help you make a more effective selection?
It is incredible how often high producing individuals get promoted into management jobs that require a totally different mindset to be successful. Think of the hot-shot sales rep or the genius software engineer.
The reason these people fail often comes down to three critical factors: leadership behaviours, aspiration and engagement.
- Leadership behaviours looks at what behaviours the candidate displays that suit a leadership role
- Aspiration entails whether the candidate really wants the position and is willing to make the sacrifices it may require
- Engagement involves the employee's commitment to the company and its mission. In focusing on whether an employee can potentially do a job, many organisations neglect the question, "Does he want to do this?"
Defining the characteristics can be a tricky proposition, particularly with young employees. The characteristics people develop through training, experience and progress in their activity are not necessarily apparent from who they are when they start. Moreover, many managers have beliefs about leadership that look like something out of a movie – loud, aggressive, in-your-face type of guys.
Organisations should develop leadership competency models based on a set of traits and behaviours associated with success in the company and then measure employees on how well they do relative to those traits. Organisations need to be sure they are assessing employees not just for the present but for the future, looking at not only what has made people successful, but also what is likely to be important and what shortages they have.
10 questions to help you identify high potential leaders: