By Rachelle Wilber
Rather than hire a manager, it makes more sense to take an employee who is already working for your company into a manager. You will already know what to expect from that employee. The best time to start grooming a great employee for a leadership position is right now, since you can never predict when your business will need suddenly need to thrust someone into a leadership role. You will especially need to prepare an employee to be your successor for when it is time for you to depart from your position.
Identify the Perfect Managerial Candidate
Make sure that the employee who you will be hiring is management material. It is difficult to teach an employee to have basic people skills, with many habits deeply ingrained. The employee will need to be team-focused rather than the type of employee who prefers to work alone.
Take Employees to Networking Events
Your budding manager will need to know how to network as effectively as you. Your employee will learn how to initiate conversations with strangers with confidence, which will come in handy not only when networking, but also when handling the responsibilities of a manager. Employees often dread networking initially, but eventually learn how fun it can be.
Conduct a Skills Inventory
Think about the skills that you need that are necessary for you to perform your job. These skills might be second nature, but you shouldn’t assume that your manager-in-training would have these skills. Think about what your day entails and determine whether your employees have experience with the actions that you partake in. For instance, your employees may have no experience with giving presentations. If so, think of circumstances in which you could allow your employees to give presentations. Also, by teaching your employees new skills, they are more likely to remain at your company.
Provide Employees With Growth Opportunities
Even if you do not expect an employee to be placed in a management position, it doesn’t hurt to provide him or her with some training in this area. Providing employees with opportunities for growth will reduce the risk that they will leave. This not only includes training on-the-job, but also opportunities to attend college for free. One of the best ways to train your employees is through leadership team development seminars and other leadership trainings. While your employees have a lot to learn from you, it never hurts to have your employees listen to other management experts who have tools available to make training more interactive and to teach employees real world skills.
Create a Mentoring System
Future managers will need to be mentored. This is best handled by a manager who has a great relationship with the employee. However, if a manager is not available, it can also be helpful to have the mentoring process handled by a seasoned employee. For example, each week, you and your employee could agree to read a book on leadership. Then, you could meet at the end of the week and discuss what you have learned. If you don’t have time to read so many books, set time aside to discuss your employees goals and how your employee can more effectively reach them.
Management is primarily about delegating tasks to different employees. First, teach your employees how to delegate tasks to themselves. Employees should learn how to break larger projects into smaller parts. Once these smaller parts have been identified, it would be much easier for an employee to delegate these tasks to other employees if he or she was a manager. Even if your employee doesn’t become a manager, he or she will be a better employee.
Rachelle Wilber is a freelance writer living in the San Diego, California area. She graduated from San Diego State University with her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Media Studies. She tries to find an interest in all topics and themes, which prompts her writing. When she isn’t on her porch writing in the sun, you can find her shopping, at the beach, or at the gym. Follow her on Twitter @RachelleWilber.