Identifying Rising Talent: 6 Key Indicators to Evaluate Future Leaders
Many business owners continue steadfastly as the only key leader in their company, failing to develop employees and managers who have leadership potential. This sort of top-down, or hub-and-spoke structure inhibits growth and organizational longevity because the business eventually grows beyond the capacity of the owner, and when the time comes to transfer leadership there is no "bench" to step up. This does not mean giving up control of their franchise organization before they are ready; instead, it could mean freeing themselves up to do more to grow their portfolio.
If as an owner you hold the reins too tightly and have not worked to identify and develop your successor(s) or leadership bench strength, it's time to step up and get to work. Depending on the maturity of your business, you may be required to conduct a talent search. Otherwise, if you have the time, look inside your business for leadership potential. In either circumstance, here are six key indicators (the 6 C's) to help you evaluate and identify your next generation of leaders.
1) Capacity. One of the core components of identifying rising stars is their growth potential and versatility in an environment of continuous learning and adaptation. There are seven specific characteristics to evaluate potential leadership candidates, who must already possess or have the capacity to learn them.
- Intellectual capacity: to effectively understand, manage, oversee, and make decisions pertaining to the unique body of knowledge important to the business.
- Big picture understanding: the ability to see the organizational "big picture," which enables the successor to multitask and effectively work with a diverse group of managers, employees, and vendors, all of whom bring different talent and perspectives to the organization and its processes.
- Social versatility: the capacity to develop and maintain positive interpersonal relationships with individuals critical to the success of the business.
- Patience: the ability to patiently take the steps necessary for leadership growth, trusting that over time they will receive increased responsibility.
- Collaborative mindset: the ability to work as both a member and a leader of a team.
- Influence: the ability to gain the respect and leadership skills to favorably influence those who are crucial to the continued success of the business.
- Coachability: the willingness to be coached from the experience of others.
2) Commitment. Next-generation leaders, and specifically someone who would take on the owner's role, should have enough passion for the business that they are willing to be a role model and think like an owner. This means throwing their unreserved commitment into the business.
3) Character. One of the fundamental roles of a future leader is the ability to both lead and motivate. Core beliefs and practices influence the organization and convey trust and respect (or lack thereof). A positive character in your future leader is critical to ensure that your team is led along a consistent and compatible path of ongoing success.
4) Competence. A person you are evaluating for a key leadership role, and specifically your successor, must have the intellectual ability to know what is critical to the business, as well as being self-aware. This positions them to not only assemble the right team, but also to address all essential and complex components required for achieving long-term business goals.
5) Confidence. It is important for both you as the franchise owner and your future leaders to recognize that you will become partners during the development process. Solid relationships built on trust and confidence will ensure a smooth and successful transition of leadership.
6) Community. In addition to developing leaders who are "owner-minded," they must also be community-minded. They must be team players who have at heart the best interests of all parties who depend on the ongoing continuity of the business.
No matter where you are in your career as an owner, to ensure the sustainability and growth of your franchise operations, it is important to identify your rising leaders, including your successor. If you are developing people to take over your role in whole or in part, you will increase your opportunities to continue to grow as an entrepreneur.
While the 6's C's are attributes every rising leader, and specifically your successor, should be evaluated against, it is not critical that they be "perfect" in each area. What should be expected is that your rising stars or next-generation leaders are not totally blind, ignorant, unconcerned, or apathetic about their weaknesses and are willing to work on them.
Analyzing the 6 C's is the first step in identifying your next generation of leadership. The next step is to understand and identify the management style that will work with you and your multi-unit franchisee organization well into the future.
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