When we look to hire or promote a new potential leader there are a few key characteristics to look for during the selection process. There is one initial question to ask when it comes to an internal promotion right from the start. As their direct supervisor, do you find that they are working up in their current position helping you achieve your goals & vision or do you end up having to work down to help them accomplish their duties? This is a very simple litmus test to see if they are ready to advance. If they struggle with this in their current role, it will only be magnified once they have more responsibility. Here are 6 qualities that I feel are present in our successful leaders. Remember that the leader will instill their qualities upon the entire team.
- 1. Ownership mindset. We want someone to lead the organization that feels accountable to the level of an owner. Are they looking at ways to improve the bottom line? Are they concerned when something breaks as they know it will cost money to replace? Do they have a “whatever it takes” attitude to get the job done? Are they are willing to come in early and to stay late when needed?
- 2. Enthusiasm / positive attitude. The leader sets the tone for the entire shift. The leader is the thermostat and most of the time others will adjust to the temperature which the leader chooses to set. It is very important for the leader to bring the energy level up every shift. Very seldom do the team members out perform the leader, it is up to us to set the standard. We need to find someone that can be a blow torch of positivity.
- 3. Willing to learn. A great leader realizes that they don’t know everything. A great leader always wants to learn and improve their own skill set. In every manager interview I like to ask what books or podcasts they have read or listened to in the past year. My personal goal every day is to be a better version of myself today than I was yesterday. We need leaders that are able to inspire others to learn and improve themselves and the best way to make this happen is to be open themselves to new ideas.
- 4. Have a 360 degree view. This is one of the biggest differences between a team member and a leader. The team member usually only pays attention to what is happening in their area, not the entire business. Our goal is to find people that are able to be present and engaged in the entire business. When they walk into the store for interview put a piece of trash a little out of reach and see what they do. When they sit down ask them what was the first thing they noticed when they pulled into the parking lot. This will give you a great first impression as to if they have tunnel vision or a 360 degree view.
- 5. Dependability. Does the person show up for every shift? If they are not dependable as a team member they will not be dependable as a leader. Were they on time or early for the interview? Being in a service business, our work cannot just pile up on our desk, we need to be present every day to get the job done.
- 6. Care about others. As Steven Covey said “people don’t care about what you know until they know how much you care.” It was also said that rules without relationship lead to rebellion. If a leader doesn’t care about the team members they will not be effective. The entire team needs to buy into the vision and buy into the leader to keep pushing forward. People will perform for a short time out of fear but they will also look to leave the company as soon as they can. One of the most important keys to becoming a great leader is to be able to give someone direction without causing resentment or making them feel judged. If we can show that we care about the person they will feel that we are giving direction in order to help them become a better person.
- Look at your current leaders and assess where each of them would rank in these 6 areas. Is there one area that you would like to improve on yourself? For me the number one area I have improved upon over the past 5 years has been to care more about others and build better relationships.