Leadership skills are essential for management positions.
Although some believe leadership is innate, real skills and experience are necessary for both understanding of the role and overall success.
According to recent research conducted by Stanford and Erasmus University, charisma is important in a leadership role, but a good leader has to completely earn authority. The research, set to be released in Insights by Stanford Business, reveal the importance of hiring and promoting leaders based on data and performance assessments rather than giving someone the job just because they can command a room well.
Many businesses recommend a “fake it till you make it strategy” or “learn as you go,” but in terms of leadership, this may not be the best course of action. Evidence has shown that many leaders rise through the ranks based on their likability, their relationship with upper management, time within the actual business and a desire for promotion. These are important factors, but having the skills to actually complete the job is important, even more so than the charisma or ability to learn right away.
During another study 55 percent of respondents chose a leader who was obviously less than competent as compared to the other, and even refused to change their decision when given a chance.
“Only 55% of the teams chose the most expert person,” said Lindred Greer, a member of the research team from Stanford. “Forty-five percent did not choose the most expert person, even though they knew who that was by now. Instead, they chose people who were, for example, taller, louder, or more confident.”
Keep the following three tips in mind when selecting the next leader for promotion:
- Competency is important: Although this may seem obvious, using a measurement system to determine whether a candidate is a proper fit for a job is a great start. Ensure that the employee being promoted is capable of performing the necessary skills regardless of connections, persuasiveness or the appearance of authority.
- Track losses and success: Not every decision will be the right one. Leaders should be able to acknowledge this and move forward with a new direction in mind. Upper management should use a metric system or other form of tracking to view progress made within a leadership position and whether any changes should be made in the future.
- Willingness to listen to others: A great leader may have all the answers, or most of them, but isn’t afraid to receive input from his or her team. When not suited to make the best decision, a great leader will open up the floor and use any input to make a well-rounded decision.
The development of leadership often translates into the training and development of employees. Keep this in mind for an optimal workforce.