Are you ready to lead?

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    Throughout my career, I have spent a great deal of time speaking with employees and potential employees about their career goals and paths. Almost always when I interview a candidate, they tell me that they are looking for a job that has growth potential and that they see themselves in a leadership position. It sounds so similar from every candidate that I am sure that this response has been programmed into them like a type of brainwashing. It makes me smile inside for a split second while I listen to the response. Obviously as a recruiter, I don’t accept that as a final answer.

    When I am meeting with employees, there seems to be a similar response and not just from the top performers. I get the response from the majority of the folks and despite the fact that they have no idea how to lead or even what it might entail, often they seem to want to be promoted. It’s like other natural progressions in life. I wonder how many of the married or divorced folks out there followed the dating, engaged, and married progression because it is an expected norm in our society. (And we can’t forget to add the live together phase in that progression.) And then at some point into the path, they realize that marriage is hard and it takes work and compromise and some degree of emotional intelligence and communication skills to work. And everyone can seem to identify with a bad spouse as equally as they can identify with a bad manager. Even if you can’t articulate it, you know it when you see it.

    So how do you know whether it is right for you to follow this progression? Are you a good fit for the leadership ladder or are you better suited in a different role. See below for a few signs that you are not ready:

    • You often say things that hurt people’s feelings.
    • You would rather just do things yourself for fear that others will mess it up or not follow through.
    • You are afraid to tell people the truth for fear of conflict.
    • You want the job because it pays more or provides you with power over others.
    • You don’t want to share your rationale behind decisions you make.
    • You take over the job’s of others because they are too incompetent or too slow.
    • You have no patience with new employees.
    • You assume everyone is motivated in the same way you are.
    • If someone disagrees with you, you automatically think they are stupid.
    • You have a difficult time controlling your emotions at work and often say things you regret later.

    For more resources, See the Human Resources library.

    Sheri Mazurek is a training and human resource professional with over 16 years of management experience, and is skilled in all areas of employee management and human resource functions, with a specialty in learning and development. She is available to help you with your Human Resources and Training needs on a contract basis. For more information send an email to or visit Follow me on twitter @Sherimaz.