Top Ten Signs Your Hourly Employee is Ready to Be a Manager
By Jim Sullivan
“Tend to the people, and they will tend to the business.” –Thomas Edison
I’ve had the privilege of helping to groom dozens of exceptional hourly employees into manager roles, many of whom became even more successful and grew into much bigger roles. I’ve often reflected on what it takes to become (and develop) an effective foodservice leader. And if building leadership bench strength is also important to you and your organization, it helps to know what to look for among your exceptional hourly team members that will help make their transition to management effective. So here’s my short list of behaviors to identify and consider when you’re evaluating team members for promotion from hourly to supervisory ranks.
- They can manage themselves. The ability to effectively manage others begins with the ability to first manage oneself.
- They routinely demonstrate ABCD (Above & Beyond the Call of Duty) behavior. One sure sign of manager-ready associates is a commitment to master and excel at the tasks at hand.
- They have the respect of their fellow employees. All of them. Strong character is a critical cornerstone of strong leadership. If you have integrity, nothing else matters. And if you don’t have integrity? Nothing else matters.
- They model the way. Whenever you cite the model employee in meetings with your fellow managers, you use her or him as an example of patience, performance and productivity.
- They’re already managers (without titles). Other team members tend to ask this associate the kinds of questions they’re afraid to ask real managers for fear of looking dumb or forgetful. And they patiently explain and demonstrate the right way every time.
- They build their own replacement. The promotion-worthy hourly employee shares expertise and insight, and successfully trains, develops and motivates the next generation team member to the role they once had. And they do it with fun and focus.
- They challenge the process, calmly. Manager-worthy associates master their role and actively search for (and often find) better solutions to common obstacles.
- They spend time with other outstanding performers. It’s been said that you are the cumulative sum of the five people you spend the most time with. Outstanding team members tend to hang with people who like them and are like them.
- They like to learn and be given targets. The best future leaders are learners and goal-oriented. They examine how the job they do might be done even better and then share what they’ve learned with others.
- They always seem to be working during the most profitable/productive shifts. Look at your spreadsheets. Compare the best days—and the worst ones—with the labor schedule. Which team members–and which managers–are consistently on staff on the best and most profitable days? And which are most often present on the worst ones?
If you’re hiring someone from the outside to be a new manager, be certain you assess their capacity for learning as well as their resume. In today’s world, resumes are somewhat irrelevant in that managers should not be hired based solely on what they’ve done, but rather for what they can do. Bank on the future more than the past. No one comes as close to perfection as they do on a resume. The ability to self-direct and self-instruct are critical skills rarely found on a resume, but worth searching for in your hourly talent pool.
Having an entrepreneurial outlook and an innate ability to be a lifetime learner are platinum skills for the next generation of foodservice leaders.
Jim Sullivan is the CEO of Sullivision.com, a global consultancy whose customers include Panera Bread, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, McDonald’s, Buffalo Wild Wings and Applebee’s. You can follow him daily on YouTube or Twitter @Sullivision.