Spotting Leadership Potential

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” John Quincy Adams

Good performers do not always make good leaders. In fact, some good performers are not suitable for leadership roles at all.

Identifying leadership potential is essential to succession planning, and to the long term survival of an organisation in a changing world.

Current performance should be part of any criteria but should not mean automatic promotion to a senior or management role. Leadership promotion is often wrongly weighted towards excellent performance alone, advancing employees who may well be great at what they do, but lack team leading skills.

So how do you identify a potential leader?

  1. Future leaders show initiative and can resolve issues with minimal supervision instead of waiting around for constant direction.
  2. Future leaders trust their own judgment and get on with the task at hand, taking responsibility and without fear of making mistakes.
  3. Future leaders are thirsty for knowledge and seek mentors and role models as they understand there is much to learn.
  4. Future leaders share their knowledge, recognising that the more they give the more they receive in return. Knowledge hoarders do not make good leaders.
  5. Future leaders accept they are not perfect and do not know everything, that they have limitations and do not know and cannot do it all. They are not afraid to show weakness.
  6. Future leaders accept responsibility for their own mistakes. Taking ownership and taking risks increases the chance of error. Leaders admit, learn and move on without making excuses.
  7. Future leaders take responsibility and don’t single people out or shift blame. Whilst any error is still acknowledged, it is ‘ours’ not the fault of an individual.
  8. Future leaders inspire and bring out the best in others as their passion and drive are contagious and set the standard for others to aspire to.

Anyone who exhibits more than half of the traits listed above could be one of your emerging leaders and offered the training and development they need to maximise their capabilities.

Remember that potential or emerging leaders are not always easy to manage. The challenge is to keep them engaged and ensure they feel valued, lest they find a leadership role outside your organisation.

Cultivate the combination of excitement and fear that inevitably follow an emerging leader who recognises they have opportunities to progress and watch them soar.

Phone 1300 719 665  www.soniamcdonald.com.au

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