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How do you spot management talent in an employee?

July 1, 2012, Clarke Bishop

The other day, someone asked:

"You have a team of young potential guys..all good at their basic profiles. How do you pick one amongst them who can take up a new venture on his own? Condition is that all the guys are good at their basic jobs, the daily working results et all."

Here’s the answer... The best way to spot management talent is to:

  1. Learn about the employee’s past.
  2. Look for patterns where they have shown natural leadership or management.

Even for younger employees, there should be examples where they organized a club, held some kind of elected office, or had another leadership role.

Some people will try to use a behavioral interview question like “Tell me about a time you organized something?” This isn’t usually that effective. It measures how well someone thinks on their feet. What you want to look for is someone who has a pattern or organizing things or ending up in leadership positions, not just someone who is good at telling stories!

I realize these are employees who may are already hired. But, I still recommend a structured interview that focuses on the person’s history. Please see the post on the basics of how to do a structured interview.

People who go through this process are regularly surprised at what they learn about their employees — Even for employees they’ve worked with for years.

Topics: Small Business Marketing

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