When I speak with a client about how they go about identifying future leaders in their company, I am often met with some discomfort and concern. They agree about the importance of “grooming” new leaders yet they usually have no system in place to uncover whom these future leaders might be.
Does this sound familiar? Consider the following as you work towards identifying new leaders in your company:
Evaluate individuals on their ability to generate commitment and passion
Many business owners evaluate potential leaders solely on their performance, and while performance is certainly a key indicator of success, there are other characteristics that play an equally as important role in effective leadership. Successful leaders must be able to generate commitment and passion and for many individuals, this skill is difficult to learn. Potentials demonstrate intrinsic energy and dedication that is “contagious” and as leaders, will serve to drive their team and the company to more positive outcomes.
Shortlist employees that have demonstrated resilience and a “can do” attitude
There’s nothing that is more indicative of a potential leader than an employee that shows strength and fortitude when the going gets tough. These individuals are able to withstand difficult situations, be resourceful and remain positive, and encourage coworkers that are overwhelmed and feel defeated by negative circumstances. They pitch in, develop a plan and work to improve the situation without complaining, and will do whatever it takes to turn around a bad situation.
Assess the individual’s Emotional Intelligence
Emotional Intelligence is the capacity to be aware of, control, express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships empathetically.
While one might be able to cite leaders that do not possess emotional intelligence, this trait is especially desirable in small to mid-sized companies in which employees must work together harmoniously in order for productivity and client satisfaction to be at its highest. Effective leaders also understand that it is not “all about them” and do not let their ego get in the way of acknowledging that the team has helped them to succeed.
Sustainable and long-term growth is highly dependent upon effective leadership, and the ability to identify and groom the next generation of leaders. Business owners can run the risk of undermining morale and the stability of their company if a mistake is made and should also consider:
Using an assessment tool to weed out individuals that are not suitable for a leadership position in the company as well as identifying those that have an aptitude for the role.
Asking trusted advisers to meet with candidates and get their input on the individuals that have been identified for leadership roles.
Don’t be hasty and eliminate someone because they’re not ready now. Remember that you are looking at an individual’s “potential” for the position and while they might not be ready for a leadership role at this point in time, their skills and talents can be further developed through coaching and mentoring. Growing an organization takes time and the right talent!