Key signs an employee is ready for a management role

If you’re a senior manager or people leader, how do you know when one of your co-workers is ready to be promoted to a management position? While the typical signs include performance, KPIs, qualifications and experience, these factors may not be the key indicators that someone is ready to lead a team of people. The process of promoting someone to manager is not numerical, but rather the process of assuming certain performance standards. Richard Wynn, Regional Director of Retail at Michael Page Australia, shares his insight on how to know when your team member is ready for a management role.

The person must first prove to you that they can manage themselves. However, while self-management is a good lead indicator, it doesn’t necessarily mean they can manage others. Other key signs to look out for include:

Thinking like a leader

People ready for management positions can think like a leader. Individuals who think like leaders will think and talk of job tasks as 'ours' rather than 'mine' – the transition away from being self-centered to being team-orientated is a key indicator that someone is ready for a leadership role.

Being a team player

One of the most obvious signs that someone is ready for a management position is that they have earned the respect and trust of their co-workers. Your rising star looks out for their team and has a team-orientated focus. This is important not only for the team’s success, but also the company’s.

Looking for alternative solutions

When an individual thinks outside the box and looks for alternative solutions, you’ll know they have the potential for a management role. They’re able to challenge the status quo while importantly supporting their challenge with another solution. People with leadership qualities look for alternative solutions and from there they take ownership.

Taking pride

Ownership is about being responsible and taking pride in what you have done and what you are doing. This will be demonstrated by a confidence and ability to communicate achievements without coming across as being selfish or boasting.

Going above and beyond

Leaders are proactive. They step outside of their usual working routine and put in extra effort while also adding value to the role. How can we be better? How can we be more successful? How can we make the job easier? How can we make it easier for the team? It’s a huge sign of leadership when someone asks for more responsibility.

Wanting it

Probably the most crucial sign is you have to have a conversation with your co-worker who is showing all of the above signs and they say, “I want to be a manager, I want more responsibility”. You’re not a mind reader – they have to let you know that that’s what they want to do. Someone who is ready for management isn’t afraid to broach the subject.

Remember that the best person ready to step-up will demonstrate a number of the above traits – not just one.

While SEEK partners with trusted contributors to bring you the latest insight and advice, the views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
  • About the author

About the author

Richard Wynn

Michael Page

Regional Director

Richard Wynn has extensive experience in the retail, hospitality, marketing, digital and sales recruitment space, working for Michael Page in both Australia and the UK for more than 13 years. Currently a Regional Director, Richard focusses on...

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