There are many people who have leadership skills but are reluctant to take on certain roles.
“Resentment”, “Competition” and “Guilt” are some of the words that are associated with advancing into a leadership position. HBR identifies 3 main risk factors that people evaluate when it comes to taking a leadership role:
1) Interpersonal Risk: Many people fear that their actions as leaders could compromise relationships with other people, and hurt the feelings of others
2) Image Risk: some people believe that the leadership role can cause other people to think badly of them.
3) Risk of being blamed: Finally, the risk that many want to avoid is that of being personally blamed if the team under their responsibility fails.
How can these problems be addressed?
Here are some possible solutions:
1) Go to extra mile to support your more risk-sensitive colleagues:
Generally, less prominent employees in the structural organization, or minority ethnic and gender groups are more sensitive to interpersonal risk. Encouraging these employees to find solutions to challenges and publicly praising them can be a way to overcome this problem.
2) Manage conflict- and how people interpet it: Conflicts are inevitable in a team, managers must know how to “govern” them and make sure that the conflict is only about work and not personal situations or values.
3) Find low-stakes opportunities for people to try out leadership: Risk is what scares people the most, it is important to bring these people to take risks in a gradual way, especially if the risk appetite is not high.
It is essential to ensure that employees can get used to exercising their leadership skills, recognizing the risks and knowing how to deal with them appropriately. We suggest reading the HBR article if you want to learn more!