Published: April 09, 2021
To move our companies forward, it is essential that we identify future leaders who will someday succeed us and others on our leadership teams.
Do you know what to look for? Today, we’re sharing the traits we look for in employees with the potential to emerge as leaders in our company.
1. Look for Passion
If an employee shows eagerness to do things better, always seeks out creative challenges, learning opportunities and new approaches to their Work — they’re likely showing a passion for the Work itself and an ability to lead. Their contagious energy drives them and others to achieve beyond expectations and to take pride in a job well done.
2. Look for Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is described as “the ability to understand, use and manage your own emotions in positive ways to relieve stress, communicate effectively, empathize with others, overcome challenges and defuse conflict. Emotional intelligence helps a person build stronger relationships, succeed at work and achieve career and personal goals. It can also help us to connect with our feelings, turn intention into action and make informed decisions about what matters most.”
Emerging leaders will often make a personal investment in a company’s future goals and plans. They are motivated to go above and beyond for the good of the many to get results. These employees are always contributing thoughtful ideas and strategies to improve company operations and take an “all in” approach to their own rocks and to-do lists.
4. Look for Achievement
Review a potential leader’s job performance, going a bit deeper in areas of subject matter expertise, consistent production, results orientation and a drive to accomplish.
5. Look for Potential
Potential outweighs performance in determining a future leader’s aptitude to create a vision, communicate a mission, build a team, develop others and influence thought knowledge at all levels of your company.
6. Look for Change Agents
Potential leaders often initiate new ways of doing things, aren’t afraid to start new projects, will take educated risks for new opportunities and challenge the status quo where appropriate.
7. Look for Team Players
People who seek others’ input, use that input to shape their ideas and generate consensus are often collaborative, great teammates and good communicators. They have the potential to be well-liked and respected leaders within the company.
8. Look for Coaching Skills
The ability to support, train and guide another person in achieving their personal or professional goals can signal leadership competency. Others often gravitate toward future leaders who will coach and mentor them to success, helping them succeed and grow to their fullest potential.
9. Look for Savviness
Emerging leaders often show keenness in understanding a company’s risks and opportunities that could lead to a good outcome. They are strategic-minded and understand their industry and study the market in which they operate.
10. Look for Clues in Past Job Performance
Looking at a person’s work history can help you better ascertain whether a potential leader has demonstrated good leadership skills early in their career.
11. Look for Previous High Marks
Query previous leaders, mentors and direct reports of future leaders for their assessment of potential leadership behavior displayed while working together. Find out their objective opinion on whether they think that individual has what it takes to lead well.
12. Look for Resilience
When a person can accept failure and is quick to recover, they are showing leadership potential. Leaders demonstrate the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult events. They are tough enough to learn the lesson to be learned, take a different approach and try again.
Companies intent on spotting emerging leaders have a basic assessment structure in place with the proper tools to evaluate in-house talent.
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