Finding the right people to take on leadership roles can be as easy as it can be daunting. Depending on the different personalities that make up a team and the dynamics within it, it can be as easy as promoting someone or as difficult as interviewing candidates from outside the organization.
The process of finding the best candidates to fill in leadership roles should start with identifying the needs within the group, both on the production side and the human aspect. A combination of the dynamics of the people that make up a work team and the goals that the team needs to achieve will determine which kind of leader is best suited to take on the tasks at hand.
When looking within an existing team for someone to fill in leadership roles, recruiters and bosses need to keep their eyes open and spot team players and team leaders. Team players excel at being where they’re supposed to be and doing what is expected of them. Sometimes, team players can develop into team leaders, individuals with the ability to identify opportunities and act on them. In some cases, some grooming might be needed to allow a team leader emerge from a team player. Allowing existing member of the work force to assume leadership roles works as a general morale booster. When team members see one of their own being recognized they deepen their trust in the company. At the same time, being led by one of their own can be extremely inspiring if done in the right way.
If management is interested in bringing individuals external to the organization to assume a leading position, a different approach towards identifying leadership potential should be taken. Behavioral interview questions seem to be the preferred method when it comes to identifying the particular set of skills and abilities needed to lead a team. This is the method used in most Fortune 500 companies, so it shouldn’t be taken lightly. A well conducted interview will most likely save future headaches both to Human Resources and to the organization as a whole, not to mention the slight trauma is causes team members to see leaders come and go. It is important to be as thorough as possible when trying to determine if an individual has the skills and the abilities to successfully conduct a team. Head hunting is another popular method when companies need to bring a new leader into the picture. This way of recruiting identifies potential leaders that are already employed in other companies, usually within the same industry, and tries to lure them to change jobs by offering better conditions and the thrill of the challenge. Injecting new blood into a project is usually successful, however it’s important to note that sometimes a team might not react positively to having ‘a stranger’ coming in a telling them how to do their job.
As a boss of mine used to say, ‘recruiting is a 24/7 job’. It’s important to not let the guard down when searching for people that might be able to assume leadership roles, be it for an immediate job opening or for the future.