A company's success is dependent on the employees who work for it. A new hire can either be a great asset or an expensive mistake. There are many factors that go into a successful on-boarding program, but one of the most important aspects to consider when hiring any employee is their leadership potential.
As experts in IT and Tech recruitment in Singapore, we are aware of the many skills a good IT candidate has. By looking at some key traits and skills, you can identify if an IT candidate will be a valuable addition to your team as they continue to grow in their role and within the organization. So how do you know who has leadership abilities? Here are 10 traits to look for during the on-boarding process that help you determine whether or not an applicant has what it takes.
1. Desire to learn and grow
Employees who are not willing to take direction from a manager or listen to others who have less experience will be a detriment to the team. A great leader has a hunger for learning new things. They constantly ask why when presented with an idea and see how they can integrate new ideas into their work. They are also eager to learn from others, especially those who know more than they do, so they can better serve their team and customers.
If your employee expresses genuine interest during training and seeks ways to grow upon currently embedded processes they will be a significant asset to your team!
2. High level of integrity
Integrity is vital to your organization's success. Ensure you find someone who is diligent in their tasks, does not make excuses or blame others when things go wrong, and has a positive attitude no matter what the circumstances. Be willing to invest the time required to discover whether someone has integrity by asking probing questions and being observant of an individual's actions and daily interactions with others in the workplace.
Those who lack compassion for others or are egotistical will not be happy working at your company, which could end up costing you money from employee turnover. Integrate empathy into your work culture as a method of determining what kind of employees you want to retain on your team.
3. Ability to work as a team player
Leaders need to be team players, and to get the job done they must have an open line of communication with everyone on their team. They do not need to agree with everyone else or like everyone else, but they do need to respect each person's position and value them as people first.
Reinforce the importance of teamwork by encouraging employees to take on new challenges together or help each other succeed in achieving their goals. Provide diversity training and active listening workshops to encourage employees to be respectful to their teammates.
Sexual harassment training can help prevent the work environment from becoming toxic, and it can help your company avoid situations that can damage your reputation and lead to legal action. Likewise, a whistleblowing system provides a channel for employees to report incidents without fear of reprisal. Part of being a team player is protecting your team from malicious actors.
Observe during on-boarding if your new IT employee is willing to take ownership of their new position. Monitor how well they handle transitions, work with others who operate differently from them, and demonstrate a willingness to learn more about what drives their teammates' success within your business model.
If they come up with creative ways to solve problems or make things happen then they are most likely a team player and will fit well into your organization.
4. Good written, verbal, and visual communication skills
In order to lead others, an IT employee needs good communication skills when writing, sharing images, or talking to others. These soft skills are essential when communicating with other employees so that there is no miscommunication along the way due to language barriers or personality conflicts. Effective written communication includes clear instructions, organized thoughts, and appropriate vocabulary.
While being able to communicate clearly is important for all roles in an organization, it becomes even more crucial within leadership roles because business leaders need to be able to verbally direct employees without leaving room for confusion or doubt about what needs to be accomplished.
To ensure optimum efficiency, it is important for an employee to know how to have effective communication within their teams and with their superiors.
5. Commitment to continuous improvement
Continuous improvement sounds lofty, but it's an effective, strategic approach to managing team members. You want them to be committed to bettering themselves and their work. Just as importantly, however, a culture of continuous improvement will help ensure your employees are invested in making the processes and procedures you implement successful.
Let IT employees know that part of their job is continuously looking for ways to improve, and then hold them accountable for doing so. This will not only make your team more efficient in the long run, but it will also make employees take ownership over what they're creating or delivering. Employees who take ownership of their work are showcasing responsibility and leadership capability.
6. Knowledge of current technology trends
Look for individuals who are passionate about technology. Their passion for the field should be evident through their knowledge base, enthusiasm during meetings and presentations, and willingness to learn more about emerging technologies while staying current on existing technology.
Keeping up with technology trends is vital to the success of your IT department for employees and managers alike. It's important to look for people who possess a thirst for knowledge in this area, as they will not only remain current in their job roles but can also help usher your organization into the next generation of its technology stack.
IT employees must understand how the various options in computing, storage, networking, and applications will converge and work together for future needs. This knowledge allows employees to make better decisions about how to allocate resources across technologies.
7. Self-motivated and independent
Good bosses delegate, great bosses train their teams how to solve problems on their own without having someone check up on them every five minutes. If you employ someone who needs constant direction, they are not likely to advance much beyond the position of low-level troubleshooter.
Independent thinkers are a lot of fun. You give them an idea, and they take that spark and provide creative solutions. They're also hard to find. Very few people are self-motivated to that extent. When you have employees that embody these traits, nurture their ability; it’s a key indicator of leadership capability.
8. Open-minded to new challenges
Employees who are open-minded typically have strong problem-solving skills and decision-making ability. They are able to take in different points of view as well as handle changing situations head-on instead of getting upset, complaining, or placing blame on others.
As an employer, you want employees that can adapt quickly to business, technological, or market changes in your industry.
How employees handle stress can demonstrate if they have leadership traits. You don't want to hire someone who falls apart when they are stressed out and encountering challenges. You need someone with a positive attitude and the right level of maturity. Team leaders can tackle problems with a cool head and make the right decision when under pressure.
9. Proactive, not reactive
Find someone who is creative and innovative so they can come up with solutions for problems before they arise. Proactive means to be the initiator, whereas reactive means to respond or follow a course.
Look for people who have made efforts to develop themselves and their organization's network of contacts. They will be better able to seek out and resolve problems with limited supervision. Candidates who must have each instruction clearly spelled out for them, or who are prone to reactive behaviour, may struggle in fast-moving situations where quick problem resolution is at a premium.
10. Fit well in your company culture
Your company is unique. Its team members are unique. Your technology solution is unique. This means your company culture will be different from any other organization you're familiar with. When searching for a candidate for an open position, it's important to take your time and consider all aspects of their personality as well as their skills set. It's not just about finding someone competent enough; you also want them to mesh well with the team
Leaders are worth finding
Leadership provides your team with an identity. It is something that people can rally around. It creates a standard to live up to, and it allows the team to create its own image of success. Being on the lookout for leadership traits during the on-boarding process can let you decide if your new employee has what it takes to be an effective leader and contribute to your working culture.
IT employees who are conscientious, good communicators, strong influencers, and team players are all great candidates for project managers. A tech's job is to bring their extensive technical knowledge into the mix by making things happen as part of a team.
Project managers need these skills most of all, so if a candidate possesses some of these characteristics it may be worth encouraging them to develop this skill set further or look at other positions within IT that offer more leadership opportunities.