By Bradford Thomas
I’m sure you’ve heard this quote before. Every day organizations make the decision to promote their technical experts into frontline leadership positions. Lacking better information, they assume that their best technical experts must be the best choice to lead technical experts—an assumption that too frequently sends these new leaders over their own professional cliffs.
In a recent webcast I hosted with HR.com, a group of HR and talent professionals asked several key questions that point to the challenges they have when preparing technical experts to become first-time leaders. I shared 3 key points to help look past the technical skills.
- Start with the END IN MIND. The requirements for successful leadership—or for any job—fall into one of four areas: what people know (knowledge), what they have done (experience), what they can do (competencies), and who they are (personal attributes and motivations). Most organizations hire for just the first two—yet fire for the latter two typically ignored during the assessment process. It’s critical that we go beyond just competencies and cover the “whole person” in a Success Profile to define what makes a leader successful.
- Use the RIGHT ASSESSMENT. How do you determine which assessments are most appropriate to evaluate current and future leaders? Are your assessment tools measuring your leaders’ current performance, potential, or the readiness? (Yes, they are very different.) There are three main criteria to use in your assessment evaluation: What they measure, how accurately they predict what they measure, and how they are measured. To get you started, here are four things you should look for in a frontline assessment tool.
- Replace BLIND SPOTS with actionable insight. I shared a case study on a Fortune 500 services company where assessment results not only change perception but, more importantly, drive performance improvement of leaders. How are you linking your assessment results to your development efforts? Does the assessment data provide actionable insights (and not just numbers) and momentum for leaders to change and improve? Get more insights on how the “dynamic duo” of assessment and development must be integrated to realize their full potential and value.
This webcast was the 1st in a 4-part series we’re hosting with HR.com based on our article Where Are Your “Ready-Now” Leaders? Join us as we explore the 4 steps to prepare technical experts for the challenges of leadership.
- Get Technical Experts Ready as First-Time Leaders (Archived from February 12)
- Maximize Development Plans to Prepare “Ready-Now” Leaders (February 26)
- Transform Training Events to Learning Journeys: Preparing "Ready-Now" Leaders (March 6)
- Gain the Commitment and Buy-in of your Leaders' Managers (March 19)
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Bradford Thomas is a Product Manager at Development Dimensions International (DDI). Contact him at Brad.Thomas@ddiworld.com