Locate your leaders

In an industry known for a myriad of technical gadgets designed for precise location, a mystery appears to persist when it comes to locating the ideal people and leaders. Where are they? Those deeply entrenched in the industry, leaders buried in years of experience, ready to become an asset to your organization, can be harder to find than a cable laid in the 80s. These three simple steps will make it easier. Follow them in order, put them into practice, and your difficulty in finding the location of internal and external leaders will dissipate quickly.

Define the Concept
To locate anything, you must know the object, quality, or element you’re seeking. With all respect for senior leaders who inadvertently overcomplicate these matters, simplicity is elegant and effective. What does a future leader in your company look like? What does that person you have your eye on need to do different, or stop doing, in order to be an ideal leader? What are the needed skills? Is he or she coachable? Define leader. Get as clear on that picture as the screen shows the location of that cable. Then look at just the position.

Examine the Position
Not all people are right for all leadership positions. Is the position you have best filled by a new leader or a long-term team member who, once promoted, will command the respect of other long-term team members? Is this position client facing, manufacturing, sales oriented, or administrative? Your answers reveal personality traits easily spotted in an interview, if you know what you’re looking for regarding the specific position and its context in the organization. Who does this position report to? Who would report to this person? Take the connection you may have with one person or another out of the equation and, in this second step, look squarely and only at the position, objectively.

Find the Missing
This last step you likely saw coming. With your lists created via manual pen and paper or a fancy spreadsheet filled with data at the ready, take a look at the qualities of your existing people and compare them with the needs of the open positions. Remember to also ask the potential leaders being considered for promotion or more responsibility if they are even interested. This is often a critical step that is completely overlooked and creates a poor job fit fairly quickly after the new promotion honeymoon period. If they’re interested and you think they have much of what is on your list that defines leadership, fill in what’s missing. Develop them. Train them. Break bad habits if needed and then promote them.

Define, examine, clarify, compare, then fill in the skills gaps or make changes. Finding the location of leaders on your existing team, or even external candidates, is easier than you think, as long as you keep the following in mind at all times. The consistent precision of equipment you work with does not come close to comparing to the complexity of people. The process of locating leaders is simple. People, even leaders, are not.

Monica Wofford, CSP is a leadership development specialist. Through her firm Contagious Companies, managers receive coaching and training on how to be not only promoted, but also prepared for leadership. To learn more, call 1-866-382-0121 or visit: www.ContagiousCompanies.com or www.MonicaWofford.com.


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