Leadership starts with me
Developing people to become leaders in the workplace, as well encouraging staff to take responsibility for their positions – leads to a harmonious, fruitful work environment. But how do we identify potential leaders?
There is a well known statement: “The best sales person would not necessarily be your best sales manager, or the best teacher would not necessarily make the best headmaster or headmistress.” It is important to keep this in mind when evaluating people.
When identifying and evaluating the skills of prospective leadership candidates, one should consider:
• A willingness to show leadership outside the workplace is an important attribute. Is there a history of past leadership?
• Body language and eyes will tell you a lot about a person’s consciousness. Eyes are a giveaway. Can they envision the future in a position of leadership?
• Prospective leaders must get excited about a challenge.
• Do they comment constructively and seek other efficient ways to complete the process?
• Prospects need to have confidence in themselves without needing constant reassurance, but not everyone with practical ideas is a good leader.
• Leaders should take their sense of responsibility beyond the factory gate. Are your prospective leaders willing to take such responsibility?
• Do they have the willingness to complete a task outside of their normal responsibilities?
• Do they have mental toughness? They should be able to accept criticism and face disappointment – the best quality being the ability to bounce back.
• What position does the candidate hold within the family circle? Is he or she respected and held in high esteem?
• Listening to others is an important part of communication, so is the ability to hold court with one’s peers. Are people inclined to listen to the prospective leader?
• The respect of peers is important, as they will follow and support a leader they respect. This would reflect the character of the leader, but not
his or her ability.
Before appointing someone in a position of leadership it is also important to evaluate the individual’s character and create the correct environment for the person to grow. At this time it would not be amiss to ask yourself a few probing questions:
• What will the individual do to be liked by his or her peers? This should not be the overriding factor however, as the function must be the prime motivator.
• Is this person constructive or destructive by nature? If he or she is obsessed by control and this is not checked, it will get worse over time.
• It is important to provide a young leader with an environment to concentrate on the role of leadership, grow and succeed. The other challenges can be introduced in time. Can your organisation provide such an environment?
Jannie Koegelenberg is passionate about promoting positive customer experiences. He runs the EDGE Training Consultancy, a leading provider of world class training and development programs that meaningfully change and impact on people’s lives. He has a 38-year track record in the motor industry, having worked at Mercedes-Benz distributor United Cars and Diesel Distributors, Ford Motor Company SA and Toyota SA Marketing.