Hands up if you want to be a leader?

It’s a common misconception that high performing employees should always be next in line for managerial opportunities.

We have all heard the saying, ‘your best salesperson does not make your best sales manager’. Well, there is a lot of truth in that. Organisations are serious about talent management these days and throw buckets of money into leadership development and hope that everyone emerges a leader. If you are lucky, you will get a handful of people who rise to the occasion. But more often than not, the high performer is only successful because they love what they do, and they do it well because they are not encumbered with the burden of managing people—they are only responsible for managing themselves.

Ask your employees, ‘who wants to be a leader?’

When assigning employees to the talent pool, one thing that many HR Managers forget to do, is to stop and ask the high performer, ‘do you want to be a leader?’.

We wrongfully assume that because a person is young and very successful in their job, they are aiming to progress up the food chain into a leadership role and hope to one day have the corner office. The truth is, talent pools are full of millennials who do not want the burden and responsibility of leadership.

They will tell you they watched as their parents worked long hours, only to be made redundant time and time again. They remember how Mum and Dad continued to work hard, striving to get that corner office, the big desk, the big team, and the even bigger pay cheque. But most of all, they remember all the personal sacrifice that goes with it. We have a problem, a really big problem. Because our future leaders, don’t want to lead. They want to live and enjoy life.

Ok, so what about the people that put their hands up. The people that tell us they want to be a future leader. Organisations need to ask up and coming leaders, what is their motivation to lead? to take on more responsibility, risk and with that comes stress. Why do they want the challenge of trying to motivate a team to achieve results, when they could just look after themselves?

So, before you invest in the development of your supposed ‘future leaders’, it might be worthwhile to stop and explore their true motivation to be a leader. You never know, organisations might end up saving themselves thousands of dollars on misdirected leadership development’.

Leadership? No thanks!

Successful talent management means not assuming everyone wants to be the boss, and that’s okay.

Do you include motivation interviews as part of your leadership assessment? They are free, cheap and could save your organisation a lot of money.