Healthy Leaders


The Basics of Leader Selection

Jess MacCallumJess MacCallum

Here’s an all too common leadership scenario: a leadership position opens up, or a new one is created, and management turns to the top performer on the team, or most senior member of the department to fill the role. That’s it ‒ the total leadership evaluation process.

But is seniority or technical competence or even outstanding performance in the work at hand enough to succeed in a leadership role? Of course not. And since you don’t have the time or resources to train everyone before they step into the leadership role, where do you start when you need to find the best candidate?

Here’s an outline for the most basic assessment for leader selection:

The Organizational Considerations

CONTEXT. What exactly are you looking for?

FIT. What does the ideal candidate look like?

The Individual Considerations

WILLINGNESS. Is the candidate willing to do the work of leading?

CAPACITY. Are they actually suited to leadership?

Most organizations undervalue the selection process for leadership roles. And they pay the price. Higher turnover, wasted time and money, demoralized teams, and missed opportunities to name a few of the consequences of a “plug and pray” approach. The outline above is basic and no guarantee of successfully selecting a leader ‒ it’s a just a starting point. All selection involves risk and work, but creating a process that brings clarity, creates communication and makes honest assessments possible is fundamental to wise leader selection.

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