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Let's face it; sometimes people end up in a management position who might not belong in one. It happens for a variety of reasons. Fortunately, not all is lost. There are some things you can do to help a non-leader lead!

In fact, it happens all the time: You thought you had the perfect person to take charge of a team: they had enthusiastic references; they used to do the job, and they rocked at it; they managed a different department and had amazing success. All signs indicate they should be doing great, but for some reason, things just aren’t working out. You have unmotivated employees, deadlines are being missed, production is falling. What do you do?

Well, you don't have a time machine, so you'd better make the best of the situation now. It was possibly just a bad-fit hire, or maybe it was a promotion that should not have happened. Too often, top performers are rewarded for their successes with promotions to management. This may seem like the perfect prize for their contributions, but unfortunately, the qualities that make them a top performer in their current role may not be the same qualities that make a successful leader.

Let's look at some scenarios. Take Cal, a friendly, helpful, conscientious customer service rep., a top performer. As a manager, his best traits could work against him. He could be too cautious, too uncomfortable with conflict, and too uneasy dealing with situations that are not outlined by written procedures. Now take a look at Martha, a top-producing salesperson who closes deals quickly and innovates frequently. In a leadership role, she could set overly aggressive goals, she may not enforce important rules, and she might not want to mentor or coach employees. While these are top performers in their fields, it does not translate seamlessly to ideal leadership.

That’s not to say top employees can never lead or that a struggling manager can't be coached; some may need more guidance than others.

Here are 6 tips to turn things around:

1.    First off, make sure the person still wants to manage (or see if they ever did). The promotion might have seemed like a wonderful thing at first, but if the individual is experiencing daily, soul-crushing anxiety, maybe it’s time to let them step back. Make it clear that a reduction in management duties would not be a punishment, just an adjustment. And mean it.

2.    Find out where the problem is. Are employees not being held accountable, is morale lagging, are people lacking direction? Observe the situation, talk to the leader, and consider having them take a behavioral assessment to identify strengths and challenge areas. Interview the staff if necessary.

3.    Be prepared to mentor and coach, focusing on the biggest problem area first. For example:

4.    Once you figure out the problem, create a plan to correct it based on the biggest challenge areas. Check-in regularly to make sure progress is being made.

5.    Since you don’t have a time machine: Hire right the first time. Make sure you do your due diligence when selecting people to lead your teams, and offer coaching from the outset. Even natural leaders will need some time to get up to speed.

6.    Find other ways to reward your best performers if they are not necessarily interested in or suited to become leaders. Offer more responsibility, chances to cross-train, or opportunities to contribute in a natural and appealing way.

As a leader, you’re expected to achieve company goals by effectively utilizing your most valuable resource - your team. So, how do you unlock their potential and guide them towards success? Honestly, you need to know your team to lead your team.

Getting to know your team on a deep level can take years of discussion and observation. But it doesn’t have to work that way. You can learn all you need to know quickly by using a behavioral assessment.

What is Behavioral Assessment?

A behavioral assessment is a tool used to measure an employee’s personality traits related to expected job performance. This form of assessment will give you critical insight into what makes each employee tick. The knowledge gained will enable you to form and leverage highly effective teams that achieve great results.

While data from a behavioral assessment can help you handle every part of the employee life cycle, let’s look specifically at how the results can impact how you train, communicate and lead.

How Results Improve Your Training

The behavioral assessment results will reveal both your employees’ strengths and potential challenge areas. While you should always cater to their strengths, knowing where they can improve facilitates personalized development plans

You’ll also learn how they process and adapt to new information, which informs the method and pace you should use to train them effectively. Incrementally, you can help each employee grow professionally and add more value to your team.

Results in Action: Training a Remote Workforce

When your team isn’t in the office and training needs to be conducted virtually, the behavioral assessment data will help you make decisions such as:

How Results Shape Your Communication Style

The behavioral assessment results will tell you exactly how you should tailor your communication style to each employee. You’ll know if they respond better to facts and figures or if they’re more captivated by personal stories and emotional appeals. You’ll also have a sense of how much information they can handle at one time and what support they’ll need to process it. 

Besides, and perhaps most importantly, you’ll understand how they handle stress. That means you can craft your message so that it provides the necessary information and avoids overwhelming them.

Results in Action: Communicating with a Remote Workforce

You need to communicate with your remote employees as much as you would if they were in the office, perhaps more so. The results from their behavioral assessments will help you determine:

How Results Guide Your Leadership

The behavioral assessment results will help you get the most out of your team. You’ll have a clear understanding of what drives each employee, how fast they work, and if they’re a rule follower or a rule stretcher.

You’ll also understand how much recognition to give them and how much oversight they require to get the job done. You’ll also know how they interact with people, making it easier to collaborate with other employees with complementary work styles.

Results in Action: Leading a Remote Workforce

Your remote employees need an effective leader that encourages and empowers them to accomplish the company’s objectives. The behavioral assessment results will help you:

Leaders: Assess Yourself

If you want to be the best leader possible, you need to understand your own personality traits. When you think about yourself, you’ll naturally have some blindspots. Using an objective measure like a behavioral assessment will give you a clear and true picture of your leadership strengths, opportunities for improvement, and general tendencies. The bottom line: by really tuning in to who you are, you’ll be better able to understand and guide others.

How Omnia Can Help

What we’ve covered here is just the tip of the iceberg. An Omnia behavioral assessment will provide you with a full understanding of each employee’s personality -- including your own! That understanding is the key that unlocks your team’s potential, driving your workforce to higher levels of success.

The Omnia behavioral assessment is easy to implement. Employees take an inventory of themselves by using an adjective checklist. Next, our analysts will create a detailed report discussing each employee’s results and what they mean for you as a leader. Then, all you’ll need to do is act on the insight and watch your team become stronger than ever.

Final Thoughts

Whether your workforce is remote, in the office, or a mix, you need to truly know each employee to effectively lead them. An Omnia behavioral assessment will give you the knowledge that you need quickly and easily. That way, you can connect with your team on a deep level and successfully fulfill the company’s mission together.

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