It’s really important to identify the signs that your employee is ready to be promoted to a management role in your company. Those who’re management material rarely stick around slogging it out for decades in a company that doesn’t recognize their effort and potential. Most will simply move on after a year or two and become your competition’s most prized asset if you don’t take action when the time is right.

Here are 6 sure-fire signs they’re ready to go to the next level in your company.

Manager candidate helping a colleague

1. They always exceed expectations

This is number 1 for obvious reasons. It’s the primary factor that always sets the promotion wheels in motion in any company. Leaders always go above and beyond what’s needed because they’re winners in life. Winners know that in order to stand out and succeed they have to give more than what their pay-grade dictates.

Someone who always exceeds expectations is also likely to be an upward mover-and-shaker type who’ll seek employment elsewhere if their efforts aren’t recognized. Those who go above and beyond may be content in their current role too, but if you need a manager offer the position to them first.

2. They help other team members rather than hinder them

This is almost an inborn trait that you’ll notice from the very first day that a given employee is hired. They’re willing to take a shift when another employee needs to leave early, willing to go the extra mile and stay late to help the team finish the project without grumbling or whining about their after-work plans, and most important: they’ll always have the answer to any question they’re asked or will relentlessly seek out someone or some way to find it; regardless if they have to put their own to-do list on pause.

3. They’re accountable for mistakes, no matter how it might affect your perception of them

No manager is infallible. Everyone makes mistakes and a good management candidate is someone who takes blame when a deadline is missed, or when a customer service or sales issue wasn’t dealt with appropriately. They’ll ask how they should have done better, or better yet: they’ll tell you how they should have better handled the issue and move toward fixing it without so much as a blink. As a CEO, you don’t have time for excuses. You’ve got better things to do, right?

Teamworking and collaborating business team

4. They use “Us” not “I”; “We” instead of “Me”; “Ours” instead of “Mine”

This isn’t an absolute manager-identifier because you really want to avoid having narcissists on your team in general (unless they’re stowed away in the basement somewhere working on server maintenance!) Still, a good manager will always have a team mentality instead of a predominantly individual one. This trait may also be present on their first day, but it’s also something that can cultivate over time. Keep your eyes open for it!

5. They always look for solutions instead of problems

A good manager knows how to “spot” problems and immediately start seeking out solutions. This is a glass half full, glass half empty scenario because the employee who sits around complaining about all the insurmountable obstacles that lay in front of them are always going to be “looking” for problems and will have a hard time getting their head around to finding an actual solution to them because of this. The non-solution-finding types are also typically infectious to other team members and can destroy morale – in addition to your profits!

6. They’re already a manager and don’t realize it

This is a very common scenario in startups, because the work environment is less rigid – less corporate. Without you or they noticing it, a special employee has become the Jack (or Jill) of all trades around the office: helping with everything including customer service, marketing, sales, administration, budgetary duties, new hire training, etc. They have a hand in several processes required to run the company successfully, taking pride and ownership in everything they do. They’ll also typically be one, if not the most liked and trusted among all your staff.