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Dear David: When Is an Employee Ready to Lead?

How do we know when an employee is ready for a leadership role? 

It’s good you’re thinking about this. Promotions into leadership too often come with little discussion about how the leadership role will be different from the current role or whether the employee has the interest or skill set to be an effective leader. 

Fortunately, there are indicators that someone is likely ready for a leadership role. These include (among other traits) their ability to communicate effectively, inspire and motivate others, resolve conflicts while minimizing drama, adapt to change, and take accountability for the work of their team. 

If there’s an employee you’d like to promote, but they haven’t expressed an interest in a leadership role, schedule a meeting with them to talk about the idea. Share why you feel they are ready for the role and what it means to be a leader within your organization. Ask about their career goals and how they would like to advance within the organization. Let the employee know how you can support them with these goals, whether or not they move into a leadership track. 

If the employee is interested in leadership, provide them a clear picture of the responsibilities and the training and guidance they’ll receive as they move into the new role. Most employees who are new to leadership will need extra support as they transition into a position of greater responsibility. 

This Q&A does not constitute legal advice and does not address state or local law. 

This information is from Mineral, a human resource solutions portal. Every month, we share an important HR Q&A. As a VMA member, you can also get other HR questions answered for free through your complimentary Mineral account. Contact jessica@visualmediaalliance.org for questions. 

David Katz
Vice President
VMA Insurance Services
To send your questions, write to david@visualmediaalliance.org

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