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10 Things to Consider Before Assigning Leadership Roles to Your Employees

Assigning leadership roles within your organization can have a major impact on morale, productivity, and business outcomes. As a manager, you want to choose the right person who can handle the increased duties and responsibilities. Rushing into a decision without some careful evaluation puts the entire team’s performance at risk.  

What Is a Leadership Role?

A leadership role is a position within a team, organization, or group that involves where an individual leads, motivates, guides, and directs others toward a common goal.

A leader is responsible for:

  • Making decisions
  • Motivating others
  • Inspiring confidence
  • Providing directions
  • Encouraging collaborations
  •  Inspiring employee loyalty
  • And helping the team reach their full potential

The responsibilities of a leader are not limited to these, as the actions of a leader can make or break the performance of an organization.

Leadership positions exist at various levels within an organization, from team leaders, managers, project directors, and supervisors to executives.

Effective leadership involves possessing qualities such as vision, integrity, empathy, communication skills, and the ability to inspire and empower others to perform at their best.

Leadership roles can be formal or informal. In any case, possessing these qualities can help them succeed. More so, a leader continues to grow as they lead.

The question is, “How can you choose the next employee to take the stage and lead?” There are many factors to consider before choosing a leader.

Read: 9 Leadership Strategies and Tactics To Help Your Business Stand Out

Examples of Leadership Roles in a Business

You are more likely to see the following leadership roles in a business setting:

1. CEO (Chief Executive Officer: The top executive responsible for making major corporate decisions, driving growth, managing overall operations, and ensuring the company’s long-term success.

2. COO (Chief Operating Officer): is a senior executive who oversees the day-to-day operations of the company, ensuring smooth functioning and efficient use of resources.

3. CFO (Chief Financial Officer): ia an executive in charge of financial planning, budgeting, accounting, cash flow tracking, and financial reporting for the organization.

4. CTO (Chief Technology Officer): This executive is responsible for creating technology strategy and fostering innovation. The CTO is in charge of all technological needs in the business or organization in line with its business objectives.

5. CMO (Chief Marketing Officer): Leads the marketing strategy, including branding, advertising, market research, and customer engagement in an organization.

6. HR Director/Manager: Oversees human resources functions such as recruitment, training, performance management, and employee relations.

7. Sales Director/Manager: Leads the sales team, sets sales targets, develops strategies to meet them, and fosters client relationships.

8. Operations Manager: Manages the day-to-day operations of a specific department or area within the organization, ensuring efficiency and productivity.

9. Project Manager: Leads specific projects from initiation to completion, coordinates resources, manages timelines, and ensures project objectives are met.

10. Team Leader/Supervisor: Leads a team of employees, providing guidance, support, and direction to ensure goals are achieved and tasks are completed effectively.

Also read: How To Become a Good Leader in Your Business

Ten Things To Think about Before Giving Out Leadership Roles

Here are ten things to consider before choosing an employee as a leader: 

1. Competency and Skills

The most essential factor is whether the person has the right competencies for a leadership role. Do they have solid experience in the field they would be leading? Have they shown skill in handling essential projects or tasks on their own? Understanding their capabilities in the context of a leadership position is critical.

Good leaders aren’t expected to be experts in every area they oversee. However, they should have enough knowledge and analytical abilities to evaluate performance, lead initiatives, provide feedback, and step in when necessary. Assess candidates’ hard and soft skills to determine strengths and development areas.

2. Initiative 

Employees who work hard are not necessarily suited for leadership. While strong performers are motivated to complete their tasks excellently, leaders must also be encouraged to improve the entire team’s performance. 

Look for people who take extra initiative—whether it’s leading an organization-wide project, creating a new system to improve efficiency, coaching teammates, or thinking strategically about innovations. If an employee has not shown interest or ability to think beyond their workload, they may struggle with the expanded scope of leading others.

3. Emotional Intelligence

Managing others demands a high degree of emotional intelligence (EQ). EQ refers to a person’s ability to understand and control their own emotions while also understanding the feelings of others and responding appropriately. Leaders need high EQ because they set the tone for their teams.

Important EQ qualities for effective leaders include:

  • Self-awareness – They understand their strengths, weaknesses, and motivations. This helps them lead in an authentic way.
  • Empathy – They can put themselves in others’ shoes. Empathy helps them support and respond to team members. 
  • Self-control – They stay calm under stress and think before acting. A calm approach helps leaders handle challenges smoothly.
  • Integrity – They take responsibility for mistakes and follow through on commitments. This earns others’ trust. 
  • Optimism – They focus on solutions and maintain confidence even in difficult times. Being optimistic keeps the team inspired and driven.

Unlike technical skills, these EQ traits indicate how candidates might handle leadership duties like resolving conflicts, motivating subordinates, and representing the organization publicly—high EQ results in more cohesive, productive teams.

4. Dedication  

Employees who consistently work extra hours and are highly dedicated make better leaders. They set an example of commitment and strong work ethic for the rest of the team. 

Analyze which of your top performers are intensely committed to their work because they enjoy mastering it and supporting company objectives. Keep an eye out for workers who pitch in outside their role description or stay late to ensure initiatives succeed. 

Finally, check how often employees miss workdays and request days off (and why) compared to their peers. While no one can or should work 24/7, leaders should demonstrate significantly more dedication and availability than average employees.

5. Maturity and Judgement 

Every organization faces occasional interpersonal problems, conflicts, crises, or other issues. As a leader, they will be on the frontlines handling these sensitive situations professionally and decisively. 

Consider which employees demonstrate discretion, nuanced perspective, willingness to take responsibility, and level-headedness – mainly when stakes are high. While technical skills can be learned, maturity and judgment tend to depend more on life experience. Is the candidate someone you would trust representing the company publicly or in closed-door meetings?  

The strongest leaders can stabilize chaotic situations, see multiple sides of complex issues, and determine solutions that work well for all parties. Assess emotional and social intelligence to gauge which employees have potential.

6. Respect and Influence

While authority comes with a new title, exceptional leaders also earn sincere respect from subordinates, peers, and managers. Consider whose guidance teammates actively seek value compared to workers who are only influenced by official hierarchy. 

Highly respected employees manage to persuade and build consensus without leverage or pressure. Their colleagues cooperate simply based on trust and faith in the individual. 

Does the candidate have many advocates in other departments? Whose advice do even senior executives listen to amongst the staff? Look out for these signs.  

The most successful leaders continue to respect and motivate their teams rather than rule through intimidation or punishment. Determine who consistently brings out the best performance in colleagues through inspiration.  

Commitment To Learning

The business world changes fast, so leaders must continuously actively educate themselves. No matter how skilled your candidate is today, they need to keep acquiring new technical and leadership abilities to help their team flourish this year and a decade from now. 

Assess each potential leader’s habits around learning. Do they read extensively to pick up new work approaches? 

Have they shown interest in developing skills like coaching, strategic planning, budgeting, etc? Strong leaders consider their development a top priority for the sake of the team.

8. Vision

While every employee can improve current business operations, exceptional leaders frequently introduce innovations, strategies, and directions to pursue. They can see multiple steps ahead in how the market may evolve and where new opportunities may emerge in the future.  

Evaluate which candidates demonstrate strategic thinking skills and even propose helpful improvements unprompted. 

Do they display innate entrepreneurial talents like spotting untapped needs, recommending partnerships, adapting best practices from other industries, or ideating game-changing initiatives? The top leaders can envision and then realize progress way ahead of their peers.

9. Communication Skills  

Even if an employee excels across all the above metrics, they will need polished communication abilities to work as a leader. From providing ongoing feedback and goal-setting to representing the company in public communications or high-stakes meetings, leadership requires excellent interpersonal skills.  

Analyze direct reports on qualities like public speaking talents, approachability, empathy when conversing one-on-one, crisis management messaging tactics, conflict resolution, etc. 

Leaders must motivate and persuade all types of personalities, so assess versatility when evaluating candidates. Those lacking communication skills can further develop them through coaching to expand their leadership potential.

10. Work Attitude

An employee may shine across all the above metrics but still not meet your standards for attitude as a leader. The highest-performing leaders model consistent optimism, integrity, accountability, dedication, and other healthy mindsets.

Take the candidate’s emotional state and job satisfaction into account, too. Even previously ideal employees can demonstrate unstable behaviors if facing undisclosed personal, health, or other issues that demand attention before considering additional duties.

Assess intentions as well – is the employee genuinely interested in leveraging new leadership opportunities for the good of your organization? Or do they just enjoy recognition and status? Understanding motives helps ensure the roles go to authentic, community-oriented servants prepared for responsibilities.

Read: Top 10 Traits of Successful Leaders and How To Develop Them

FAQs

What are leadership roles?

Leadership roles are positions where an individual within a team, organization, or group is in charge of leading, motivating, guiding, and directing others toward a common goal or objective.

What are the key differences between individual work and leadership roles?

Leadership introduces expanded duties like managing budgets/plans, making executive decisions, overseeing teams, coordinating across departments, reporting to company directors, and guiding overall business strategy. In contrast, individual work revolves around specific technical skills and deliverables. 
Leaders require different competencies around communication, maturity, strategic thinking, and influencing diverse groups of employees rather than just completing hands-on tasks.

How much of a workload/responsibility increase is reasonable when assigning someone a new leadership role?

Leadership roles typically demand 25-50% more responsibilities, so the workload should be reassessed – potentially increasing team size or reallocating some individual tasks to assistants. 
Prevent employee burnout and set them to excel by evaluating expanded requirements. An increase in duties of over 30%—especially a sudden increase—may slow them down.

Should pay increases accompany leadership role changes?

In most situations, boosted pay helps reflect expanded responsibilities and motivates employee performance further—research typical compensation for the type of leadership role among industry peers. Increases of 7-15% are suitable to start when duties increase by 30%, or promotion requires new competencies. Adjust pay further after a trial evaluation period confirming excellent performance.

Conclusion

When assigning leadership roles, managers should evaluate candidates across a range of factors – from job competency to learning agility, strategic vision, and communication versatility. Assessing both soft skills and tangible expertise ensures matching the right leaders to oversee teams and progress organizational goals. Allowing time for thorough assessment prevents quick role assignments that could prove disruptive if new leaders lack the necessary development. Good luck!

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