4 Ways to Identify Leadership Roles in Your Team

Now more than ever, companies are targeting to develop internal talent to boost performance and achieve business goals. In a World Bank report, Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) represent 90% of companies and half of the employment globally. While in New Zealand, around 530,000 small businesses comprise 97% of the total firms in the country. 

As leaders are critical in the continuous growth and attainment of a company’s success, the need for coaching to bring about leadership development in every SMB must be filled in.

In a 2018 Leadership Development Study published by Harvard Business Publishing, becoming a transformational leader in the plethora of workplace transformations is the best option for an organization to gain a competitive advantage. Becoming a transformational leader is where leadership coaching plays an enormous role. 

With proper coaching practices for leadership development, management gaps can be examined, and leadership skills can be enhanced, allowing your team to become well-prepared in overcoming all manner of challenges within a business.

3 Major Challenges in Developing Leaders from the SMBs

Though several factors are limiting leadership development in SMBs, below are the 3 major challenges. 

1. Budget constraints

Budget is often a primary concern for SMBs, particularly those in the startup stage. As a firm’s immediate interest is maintaining finances for growth, leaders are hesitant of putting budget towards coaching for leadership development, with the thinking that there are other more urgent areas to consider such as service/product quality and marketing/communication.

Coaching For Leadership Development: 3 Major Challenges in SMBs Plus 4 Ways to Identify Leadership Roles in Your Team

2. Time restrictions

Leaders are confronted with the day-to-day management and problems to deal with within their businesses. Thus, leadership coaching frequently gets pushed to the bottom of the “to-do list”. 

3. Absence of a unified method

As a company’s strategy becomes more focused on profitability, individual approaches to coaching may lack an overall purpose and alignment with the business goals.

It may be fair to say that SMBs lack the proper number of resources when compared with big corporations in overcoming these challenges. However, this is where a company’s more defined strategy plays a vital role as being an SMB, has benefits too, only if these are utilized and maximized.

Below are 4 ways to assist you in distinguishing a leadership role for your team.

4 Ways to Identify Leadership Roles in Your Team

1. Design a balanced leadership scorecard

A balanced scorecard that is agreed upon by your leadership team is essential, as your firm’s strong foundation and direction are dependent upon its leaders. These attributes should be advocated as early as the recruitment stage for employees to strive and work towards.  

Be cautious on the weights and percentages you apply to the scorecard’s attributes since they will have a major impact on the leaders you will be developing. Incorporate your company values and objectives to ensure that they are a fit for your leadership standards.

Below are some of the valuable attributes in a leadership scorecard that you might want to consider:

  • Knowledgeable and experienced
  • Consistent and dependable
  • Authentic and open-minded
  • Able to earn respect from the team
  • Adaptable to a changing environment
  • Straightforward and transparent
  • Decisive and results-oriented
  • Humble and accountable
  • Capable of effectively assessing risk
  • Empathetic and selfless

2. Assess potential candidates

Coaching For Leadership Development

Team leaders must be able to evaluate the potential candidates using the agreed criteria specified on the scorecard. Avoid perception bias by being as objective and realistic on your scores as you can be, based on your team’s performance and contributions. 

A high-potential employee, embodied by the top 5% of employees in a company, won’t likely meet all the identified metrics. An example of this is when an employee’s performance is judged based on the four categories; practical and professional knowledge, having initiative and producing results, consistency in duties, and having a cultural fit – all critical qualities. However, we must be aware that it is nearly impossible to meet all of them.

3. Align performance metrics

Continuously recheck and realign the performance management metrics based on your company’s strategic goals. Utilize measurable and more specific action items to monitor your employees’ progress and ensure they remain aligned with the company goals.

4. Leverage 360˚ feedback

Give time for your employees to execute the actions based on earlier recommendations. Perform 360˚ feedback by involving other stakeholders or other teams to get a clearer picture of how well your employees are improving.

A leader’s capability propels the company’s efficiency in attaining its goals. With the right mindset, expertise, and values, an employee’s path to exemplifying management functions becomes certain. Coaching for leadership development will not only prepare your employee to ascend in the organization, but it will also ensure that your company will be in good hands when the time comes.


A.J. O’ Connor Associates. (2017, July 20). Developing Leaders and Teams in Small and Mid-sized Businesses. Retrieved from https://www.ajoconnor.com/blog/leadership-development-in-SMBs

Frank Sonnenberg Online. (2014, April 15). Leadership Scorecard. Retrieved from https://www.franksonnenbergonline.com/blog/leadership-scorecard/

Gray, D., Ekinci, Y. & Goregaokar, H. (2011). Coaching SME managers: Business development or personal therapy? A mixed methods study. International Journal of Human Resource Management. 22. 863-882. DOI: 10.1080/09585192.2011.555129

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment. (n.d.). Small business. Retrieved on October 8, 2021, from https://www.mbie.govt.nz/business-and-employment/business/support-for-business/small-business/

The World Bank Group. (n.d.). Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Finance. Retrieved on October 8, 2021, from https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/smefinance

Zenger, J. & Folkman, J. (2017, February 20). Companies are Bad at Identifying High-Potential Employees. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2017/02/companies-are-bad-at-identifying-high-potential-employees

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