Leadership is rewarding, but it can be more challenging than ambitious employees sometimes expect. When you’re grooming a potential manager, or coaching a worker who’s expressed interest in promotion, discuss the differences between being an employee and taking the reins of leadership. Make sure your next-generation leaders are ready for these challenges:
• Taking pride in other people’s accomplishments. Managers have to let employees succeed. The role requires them to step back and allow employees to achieve results on their own without taking over the work, and to give employees the credit they’re due.
• Lack of feedback. Employees get lots of feedback, coaching, and advice from their supervisors. Managers, not so much. If leadership-minded employees aren’t comfortable being on their own as they manage their teams, they’ll have a difficult adjustment to the job.
• Taking responsibility for decisions. Most managers don’t get a chance to check their decisions with someone else. Collecting information and input is important, of course, but in the end leaders must be ready to call the shots without constantly seeking validation or reassurance from higher-ups.
• Organization and time management. Employees have to be focused and organized, meet deadlines, and keep priorities straight. Managers need to do this at a higher level, with more people and projects on their plate. Talk about how prepared potential managers are to juggle multiple responsibilities and demands on their attention and time.
• Conflict. Even in a friendly, placid workplace, managers have to be able to confront unhappy situations. Saying no to an employee can be difficult; so can stepping in to resolve an argument. If employees aren’t willing to accept that sometimes people won’t like them, they’re probably not ready for management responsibilities.