Identifying the leaders of the future 


When identifying the potential of future leaders within a company, employees can fall into common issues. Unfortunately, this could mean that the candidate that may be more successful is overlooked. Therefore, it is vital to fine-tune the selection process in order to identify the individuals with the best potential for leadership.

Louder doesn’t equate to leader 

When working on group projects, it can be easy to fall into the belief that the person most vocal in the discussions is the employee stepping into the role of leader. However, they may not be the person coming up with the best ideas or solutions, simply the more outgoing person at the table.  

The candidate with the best potential to lead may be the one sitting quietly observing, developing their own solution and ideas and waiting for the opportunity to vocalise them. Not all leaders are extroverts; some are more methodical, quieter thinkers. It may take an employer more time to build a trusting relationship with such employees, but the bond will run deep.  


Take Risks with Opportunities  

Often an employee may not be demonstrating leadership quality purely because the opportunity to do so hasn’t arisen. Occasionally, as an employer, you may need to be a bit of a risk-taker in your delegation of tasks.   

You may have a preselected candidate in mind for certain tasks or opportunities, but by giving these to employees at random, you will allow those who may have been overlooked to step up to the plate and demonstrate qualities that have previously gone unnoticed. Granted, some employees will hate this and not do so well with the challenge, but it’s worth taking that risk to find those that will thrive and discover traits and potential neither of you knew they had.  


Look for the Risk Takers  

As well as undergoing risk yourself, you need to be on the lookout for the candidate who is also happy to take risks. But more so, those who are able to take responsibility for things going wrong when those risks don’t pay off.  

A good leader will come up with creative solutions; great leaders will accept the consequences of those solutions not working out and come up with the next idea – the courage to fail and adapt.  


Seek Employees’ Opinions 

If you base decisions on your own thoughts and opinions alone, you will vastly limit your scope for identifying the best leadership candidate.  

Don’t be afraid to seek employees’ views on the matter. Every once in a while, ask your staff who, other than themselves, they believe demonstrates the most potential to move into a leadership role. Who are they most willing to trust in their job? Who would they feel comfortable with taking the lead on a project?  

By doing this, you will exhibit trust in your employees’ views on the matter and allow yourself to make a more broadly informed decision by identifying those that your employees are already willing to trust.  


Look for potential over performance 

Finally, be constantly on the lookout for the potential in your staff. When looking for someone to move up to management, the temptation is often to pick from the top-performing members on your team. However, your top salesperson may be skilled in their role but lacking in the traits required to take the lead.  

In order to keep your business progressing, you need to ensure those taking it forward are the best candidates. So, take the risks, seek opinions and be constantly observing where the best potential lies.  

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