Dave’s business was at that critical stage of growth where he knew he needed to advance some of his employees into manager and leadership roles.
But which ones?
How do you know that good performers are ready to advance to becoming great performers?
Most business owners will look at a single criterion for assessing someone’s potential to advance and that would how well they are performing in their current role. Performance effectiveness is certainly an appropriate metric to use but what other measures can business owners look at to ensure they are promoting the right person.
In my research, I’ve identified 3 elements that can help determine an employee’s value to an organization:
- Accomplishments and achievements: Most employers are ready to track this metric by examining how productive an employee is in getting his or her work done. The key factor here is to look at results and not activities. Oftentimes employees can be busy and seem as if they are getting a lot of things done but the results are just not there. Establishing specific goals and outcomes and measuring employee performance based on those is critical for determining whether they can be advanced in their role and responsibility.
- Helping Others: More recent research on how people interact in the workplace points to the importance network connections have as a critical factor for completing projects successfully. But it is not just any kinds of network connections. Quality connections, where an individual is central within her group of colleagues means that she can move easily between groups and can build connections with others. More importantly, the individual who actively contributes to other people’s success by helping them meet their goals with proper resources, providing technical or even emotional support, and how they champion that person’s success with others create a work environment where silos are smashed to smithereens.
- Alignment: How well do your employees know your mission and can speak to the objectives that are outlined in your strategic plan or even daily work plan. Too often, employees may have their own agenda of what they think is important and will focus their energies on accomplishing their goals without a strong connection to the larger strategic picture. Those employees who speak and walk the talk are making a greater contribution to the business and demonstrate and understanding of how their work must fit into the business and not the other way around.
Dave was prepared to move up one of his supervisors who seemed to be a star but after we discussed this approach, he realized that his employee got a lot done but it was on his own effort. In his manager role, he would have to get other people to do the work and in that category his employee lacked strong connections and perhaps, even a focus on the larger strategic imperatives.
Instead, Dave promoted a newer and less experienced employee but who was someone who was well respected within the organization for the kinds of help she provided others as well for how she understood and expressed the business imperative that Dave felt were critical for business support.
Growing enterprises need to make certain that they build a cadre of leaders and managers who are focused on the right thing and that is growing your business.