Have you or one of your employees ever had the thought: “I could be a leader!” At some point in their career, most people have had the thought that they could or should be a leader. Unfortunately, being a leader is much more complex than simply having the motivation to want to lead.

The following document will walk you through several key questions designed to get you to think about whether you or one of your individual contributors want to be a leader, and if it should happen, whether you or they are ready to be a leader. It contains questions regarding traits, motives and values that when answered honestly can reflect a person’s ability to take on the role of a leader.

“People are more likely to act their way into a new way of thinking than think their way into a new way of acting.” – Richard Pascale, “Surfing the Edge of Chaos”

When preparing to fill a leadership role, always consider the following:

  1. Who can lead? Who has the talent and acumen?
  2. Who wants to lead? Who has the motivation?
  3. Who is ready to lead? Who is prepared, has the expertise and influence?

Questions for the leader to ask the individual who is considering a leadership role:

  • Why do you want to be a manager or leader?
  • Are you willing to give up or delegate your daily tasks to others?
  • Are you willing to work longer hours and be at the mercy of your team?
  • Are you willing to give the accolades to your team and accept the blame yourself?
  • Have you always thought of yourself as a leader?
  • What traits and aptitudes would you bring to the role that are useful or unique?
  • Is coaching one of your favorite things to do? Do you naturally share your expertise with others?
  • Is moving up more important to you than performing with excellence in your current role?

Questions for the leader to ask himself or herself in evaluating someone’s readiness for a new leadership role:

  • Does the person you are considering seem to embrace opportunities to improve and follow through on them?
  • Or are your efforts met with resistance?
  • Do you see consistently positive, upward movement and growth?
  • Is he or she is proactive in asking for more responsibility or opportunities to perform leadership tasks?
  • If and/or when you give them these responsibilities, what is the outcome and how much do you have to monitor and support them?
  • Does he or she ask for honest feedback and seem committed to growth in their areas of strength?
  • Does this potential leader ask good questions and show curiosity and humility?

Brent Proulx, M.S., SPHR
Senior Management Consultant
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Brent Proulx, M.S., SPHR is a Management and Leadership Consultant for Talent Plus. He is passionate about helping people and organizations become more successful at what they do through the creation, implementation and perfection of strength-based measures for selection, development and coaching.