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10 Signs Your Employee is Ready to Be a Manager

sign employee is a manager or leader
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As your small business grows you may be thinking about promoting someone as a new manager. Usually, you look for someone who shows good leadership skills. It is important to promote someone with natural leadership abilities, especially for your small business. One bad manager can hurt your business and can cause turnover. 

Recognizing when an employee is ready for a managerial role involves assessing various skills, behaviors, and attributes. Here are 10 signs that indicate an employee might be ready to transition into a managerial position:

Natural Leadership Skills

Some people are born to lead. Whatever group setting they are put in they start leading the team. If you can, ask employees to form a team or a committee. Then request them to solve a problem. The person who immediately takes charge could be a leader. If you aren’t sure, do some team-building exercises and you will probably see someone shine. You may be surprised. Sometimes it may be someone who you always thought was quiet and introverted. 

Typically, they display leadership qualities and take charge of projects while inspiring others. 

Others Look at Them for Guidance

When your employees have a problem, who do they turn to for guidance and instruction when you aren’t around? Also, is there someone you leave in charge while you are out of the office? Many times, natural-born leaders and managers help others succeed. They are respected by others and expected to make good decisions. 

Your employees don’t want to get into trouble, and some might be afraid to ask questions. They look to their peers with leadership traits to find answers. Your team will trust that person to lead them in the right direction. Your lead person is someone who inspires others to do great things. They are respected by others, and they help motivate team members when needed.  

They Take Initiative and Solve Problems

Typically, leaders are proactivity taking on more responsibilities beyond their current role without being asked. 

Leaders want to tackle problems. They are the ones that fix problems when they see something wrong. If they don’t know how, they report the problem. Not only do they report problems, but they probably recommend solutions too. 

They are going above and beyond for a customer because they care about your business and the clients. If you constantly have to ask an employee why they didn’t fix something broken, they are not your next manager. 

They also show effective problem-solving skills and can handle challenges independently.

Also, they don’t let problems go. It’s okay to have people like this working for you because they only want your business to succeed. 

Team Collaboration

A worker with management skills excels in team collaboration by being a great team player. They actively work together with their colleagues, sharing ideas and supporting each other to achieve common goals. They listen to what others have to say, consider different viewpoints, and encourage open communication within the team. 

This worker is good at organizing tasks, making sure everyone knows their roles, and fostering a positive team spirit. They understand the strengths of each team member and find ways to use those strengths for the benefit of the whole team. In short, a worker with management skills contributes positively to team collaboration by being cooperative, communicative, and focused on achieving success together.

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Strong Communication Skills

An employee who wants to become a potential manager can show they have strong communication skills in simple ways. They talk to their colleagues and team members in a clear and easy-to-understand manner, avoiding confusing language. 

When others speak, they listen carefully and ask questions to make sure they understand. They also share information with the team in a way that everyone can grasp, using simple and straightforward language. If there are issues or concerns, they address them openly and calmly, encouraging team members to share their thoughts. Overall, this employee makes an effort to keep everyone on the same page, ensuring that communication is smooth and that everyone feels heard and understood.

They Think of the Business as Their Own

Potential leaders like good quality. They don’t let bad products or services go to the customer. Prospective leaders want your business to thrive and will do as much as they can do to make it happen. Also, they don’t like to see co-workers slacking when they are working hard. Most likely, you will hear from them if someone isn’t working hard. Before they came to you, they probably already tried to address it themselves. They aren’t trying to get someone in trouble, they just want people to care as much as they do. 

For example, if you own a lawn care business and your clients always talk great about one employee, then that employee is probably the one that really cares. You won’t have to monitor their work or make sure they get everything done. They are probably going above and beyond what others are doing. Furthermore, this person may be someone you should use to train others as well. 

Also, this employee is probably thinking of the next steps to help your business succeed. They are researching ways to get better software or equipment to streamline some business practices. 

They Show Emotional Intelligence

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is defined by psychologist John Mayer at the University of New Hampshire as “the ability to accurately perceive your own and others’ emotions, to understand the signals that emotions send about relationships, and to manage your own and others’ emotions.”

When you have Emotional intelligence, you can use your own emotions wisely and communicate effectively with others. You also can handle high-stress situations and can diffuse conflict. 

You want to hire employees as managers who have EQ. As a leader, they will need to be aware of their emotions and how to manage them. Having these skills helps a leader portray that they are in control of the situation. With EQ, you gain confidence and respect from your employees.

Conflict Resolution

A worker with management skills is really good at solving problems and conflicts. When disagreements or issues come up, they handle them calmly and try to find solutions that make everyone happy. They talk to the people involved, listen to their concerns, and then work together to figure out a way to fix the problem. This worker is like a peacemaker, helping everyone get along and making sure that the team stays focused on their work. They don’t like fights or gossip, and they believe that finding common ground is the best way to make things better for everyone.

They are Accountable for Their Mistakes

Have you ever had an employee come up to you and say, “I think I just made a big mistake?” If so, they are admitting their mistakes. They probably also came up with a solution to the mistake before they even came to you. Great managers and leaders own up to their mistakes. 

People are going to make mistakes and as a manager, you understand that. However, it is how someone reacts to mistakes that show true character. If you discover the mistake and ask a group of employees, who did it, your potential manager will raise their hand if they think they are at fault. Furthermore, they are the first ones to admit they need training when needed. 

They are Already Doing the Job

Most likely your potential manager is already doing the job. They know they want this position and most likely they already met with you about their ambitions. These managers have a drive and passion to make their success. Give them feedback during their performance reviews and other times about what steps they need to become a manager with your business. 

How Can You Help Them Succeed?

To help a worker succeed in becoming a manager in your small business, you can provide them with opportunities to learn and grow. This means offering training sessions, mentoring, and resources that focus on leadership and managerial skills. 

Also, you can encourage them to take on more responsibilities gradually, allowing them to showcase their abilities. Providing constructive feedback and recognizing their achievements will boost their confidence. 

Additionally, creating an open and supportive environment where they feel comfortable asking questions and seeking guidance is crucial. By investing in their professional development, you aim to empower them with the skills and knowledge needed to take on a managerial role successfully.

If you have employees who are showing ambition and who feel being a manager is important to them and your company, you should think about a succession plan for them. 

Develop a Succession Plan 

If they come to you or if you notice they have leadership qualities, it is important to meet with them and find out what they want to do in their career. You may find they don’t want to manage others but like overseeing projects for example. Meeting and discussing the future for all employees is important. Also, give them tips about what you think they need to do to succeed in their career path. 

Train Them

Ensure they have the proper training to help them become a great leader and manager. They may know some ways to motivate others, but maybe they need a class on more ideas. They also need legal classes to ensure they follow proper employment laws as a manager. Your potential manager also needs to know how to hire, conduct employee discipline, and terminate and they should be trained on micromanagement. Training is very important to develop them into their full potential.

Offer Support

Once you have identified your potential manager, ensure them they have your support. It may be a struggle for them while they are training plus doing their primary job.  Let them know you appreciate them and acknowledge their hard work. 

Final Thoughts

Your potential managers want your business to win. They may have some difficulties, and some may have some skills that need to be refined. If they are emotional, ensure they have training on EQ.  Make sure they understand the importance of that job and how it can affect everyone around them. They may not be great leaders at first but if you train them, guide them, and let them know they have your full support, they will probably overcome their challenges. 


Author: Kimberley Kay Travis

Kim Travis has over 20 years of experience in business, human resource management, and leadership roles. She has specialized knowledge in employment law, employee relations, recruiting, management consulting, small business growth, leadership development, workplace safety and health programs, and writing business content.

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