Preparing first-time leaders for success

So, you have a star employee on your team—a proverbial rock star. She knows what is expected of her and excels at every turn. She shows initiative and creative problem solving skills. She is an informal leader and her peers respect her and see her as an expert. She lives by your company’s values and has earned the trust of everyone she works with. You know about an opportunity for her to move into a management role, but how do you set her up for success?

The transition from individual contributor to people manager is often anything but smooth. Leadership transition research conducted by Development Dimensions International (DDI) found that more than 87% of first-time leaders are not prepared for their new role, while only 11% said they felt that they were properly groomed for a management role through training and development. Those numbers are discouraging. It is all too common for organizations to take an exceptional employee and put them in a position of leadership, but fail to prepare them for success. The end result negatively impacts the employees the new manager is leading, the new leader, and your business. Before you promote your next rock star employee, learn a few steps you can take to set him or her up for success in their new leadership role.

1. Make sure the employee wants to lead people.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that all employees want to lead people. Some people enjoy being individual contributors and aren’t interested in the added responsibility that comes with a leadership role—and there is nothing wrong with that as long as this is discovered before they are thrust into a leadership position. Motivation to lead must be present in order for your employee to excel.

 

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