It can be challenging for companies to identify leaders. And some companies wait until an employee reaches a management position before investing in their leadership potential.
But at that point, it can be too late, because some bad habits may have become ingrained, while positive competencies you would want to instill by that point may not have been instilled.
That’s why it’s so important to identify leadership potential early and encourage it as soon as you see it.
It’s often the case that promoting from within has a better success rate than bringing on external candidates to fill leadership roles. Not only can the onboarding process be shorter, but it’s likely an internal candidate already feels invested in (and is currently contributing to) the company’s growth and success.
Promoting from within also affords the opportunity to establish succession plans. And in doing so, company leaders can move on to other endeavors without worrying about what they’re leaving behind. They can provide internally promoted leaders with perspective and context they may not get until years into the role if hired externally.
To identify and groom promising leaders in your company, look for employees who have the following qualities:
Employees who take the initiative to tackle difficult problems or take on more responsibilities should be rewarded. If an employee doesn’t have drive, they are likely not cut out for a management or leadership role. Also look for those who take initiative outside of the office. Are there any employees in your organization continuing their education off the clock? Are they investing in their future in other ways? These are all likely indicators that they would be great internal leaders.
Humility is a good indicator that an individual is open to constructive feedback. And a willingness to constantly improve is a mentality that is critical to good leadership. In addition, people have been shown to be less willing to follow leaders who are perceived as perfect. When leaders show their true self, that helps others feels connected to them.
3. Good speakers, better listeners
Effective communication is essential to good leadership. However, communication is a two way street. Just because an employee is an excellent and thorough speaker, does not make them a good communicator. Active listening is a skill paramount for successful leaders. And good leaders often listen more than they talk.
Having a team of leaders to support your organization can produce a myriad of benefits. And identifying those leaders early on can make all the difference. Look for individuals that possess the above qualities and work with them to actively learn, improve and move forward into strong leadership roles.
Question: How mindful are you of identifying and nurturing leadership in your organization?