Are You Sure That Employee is Ready to Lead?

BY Kathy Crosett
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When it’s time to fill a management position in your company, slow down and think about what you’re doing. We’ve touched before on this topic and on the dangers of promoting a person who’s good at what she’s doing instead of considering which employee demonstrates the right traits to make an effective manager. Use the points covered in a recent post on SmallBizTrends to guide your decision-​making process for this important step.

Every business leader has a method for deciding whether to move an employee into a management role. In the SmallBizTrends article, the Young Entrepreneurs Council members discussed the reasons they would move a person into the C‑suite. Here are some of the details they focus on.


Some leaders promote an employee when he constantly raises questions. The questions being asked should revolve around the success of the business, not challenging the boss directly. For example, an employee who asks whether  a certain process should be changed to improve efficiency is clearly thinking about the success of the business. Employees who are closest to the work process often understand that process best. An employee who hears your plan to make a change, and silently disagrees, is not management material. You need to be promoting people who aren’t afraid to speak up.

Emotional Intelligence

The team member you’re considering for a promotion may be an ace at his job. But how do the other team members respond to him. Do people naturally seek out his wisdom? Do other team members seem to enjoy spending time around him and respect him? If not, that person may be best suited to the work he’s currently doing. Promoting that person may bring on organizational challenges. Similarly, as you consider candidates for promotion, think about how they respond under pressure. Driving and leading organizational growth, especially when a company is trying to launch a new product or service, is rife with stressful situations. The person you promote must be able to keep his cool and carry out his duties. You don’t want to be dealing with someone who is slamming his office door in a fit of anger, or taking multiple sick days at a critical time, because he can’t handle the stress when he encounters setbacks and failures.


The business world is filled with employees who watch the clock and do exactly as they’re told.  These employees are important to your success but they likely won’t make the best leaders. You need to look for team members who are coming up with new ideas. This behavior is different from questioning what’s already being done. Team members who are true visionaries and who take on tasks without waiting for anyone to tell them what to do make good management candidates. Businesses succeed because someone is willing to step in and fill a void. You can’t be in all places at all times. But if you promote an individual who is always thinking about what needs to be done to improve the company, you’re headed in the right direction.

Read the rest of the suggestions in the SmallBizTrends article before you make your next promotion.