Can you recognise leadership potential when you see it?

Choosing the right people to develop into frontline leaders is vital to the success of your organisation. Get this step right and you make the process of turning them into effective leaders much easier for everyone involved. So how does your organisation rate in terms of identifying the key characteristics to look for?

Just as you wouldn’t go to your local nursery seeking out seedlings for your garden without understanding what a healthy one looks like, it makes no sense to select people to be developed as leaders without having some clear criteria to assess them against. Unfortunately, the traits essential for leadership success are not always as obvious as they are with young plants. Yes, they have some similar qualities such as vigour, a certain look and an appropriate growth habit but that is where the comparison ends.

According to this article by Jack Zenger in Forbes, there are 10 keys to identifying people who have the potential to be great leaders. These traits can be observed even in the most green employee and any smart leader will be on the look out for them from day one. 

  1. Strategic perspective, direction and clarity
  2. Inspires and motivates to high performance
  3. Focus on results
  4. Collaboration and Teamwork
  5. High ethical standards, upholding values, acting as role model
  6. Deep Expertise and Business Acumen
  7. Champion Change
  8. Willingness to Innovate and Take Risks
  9. Powerful Communication
  10. Develops Others 

I particularly like number 5 (role modeling) and number 9 (powerful communication) however the standout item for me is number 10 … develops others. This is because I believe that part of the role of any great leader is to help others develop as leaders. This is why in unit 5 of my Budding Leaders Program “Growing as a leader” I always talk to participants about how they grow when they help others to grow. This creates a positive culture that will allow any organisation to easily propogate more leaders in the future. You could call it a “self seeding campaign”.

If you want to develop the kind of leaders who will encourage others to follow in their footsteps then contact me via to discuss how the Budding Leaders Program can help.


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