Consistently successful organizations are able to identify future leaders, effectively develop their talents, and promote from within. The benefits of having a reliable leadership development program are so compelling that every organization should make it a top priority:
- A culture that attracts top talent
- Higher employee morale and motivation
- Better employee retention
- Quicker filling of leadership roles
- Faster ramp-up for leaders in new roles
- Better-informed business decisions
- Stronger ability to overcome market challenges
- More innovation
There is no doubt that an infusion of fresh perspectives can be gained by hiring leaders from outside the organization, but on the whole, it pays to fill at least half of your leadership positions from within. These leaders provide continuity. They will be more prepared to work within your existing processes and organizational structure. They understand your market and your strengths and weaknesses, and they usually make better-informed business decisions.
For many small- and mid-size organizations, what stands in the way of properly identifying leadership capabilities is an over-reliance on productivity in a position. While productivity is essential in identifying employees with the highest leadership potential, there are many highly productive people who are not cut out for leadership. Here are some of the factors to add up as you measure an employee’s leadership potential:
1. Character and Integrity
Leaders hold themselves to higher moral standards. Their personal values are aligned with the best intentions of your organization. They don’t preach what they believe, but they put their moral convictions into daily practice. You see it in their business ethics—in their honesty, accountability, and concern for all company stakeholders, from colleagues and shareholders to customers and the public.
Failures happen, and natural leaders take responsibility for their contributions. They also demand to be evaluated by objective criteria. Poor leaders prefer situations in which their specific contributions to failure can be masked by a group, or by challenging extenuating circumstances.
3. Empathy for and Chemistry with Others
Real leaders have a genuine concern and empathy for others. Because they have a high emotional IQ, they value relationships and social engagements, and they have strong personalities that others are drawn to. They take pleasure in seeing others succeed and take pride in helping to develop their teammates’ talents. They desire warranted recognition even more for others than they do for themselves.
4. Proactive Engagement
Future leaders don’t wait to be appointed as such in order to assume leadership. They are proactive in identifying issues to be solved and in facilitating decision-making processes. They consistently go beyond expected contributions to ensure that projects are completed successfully.
5. Exceptional Communications Skills
Whether orally or in writing, future leaders have the ability to express themselves clearly, succinctly, and powerfully. They are convincing and influential, and they make communications seem effortless. If you marvel at an employee’s phraseology, choice of words, and ability to make complex concepts digestible, chances are you are managing a leader in the making.
If you manage talent at any level in your organization, identifying and promoting future leaders is one of the best ways to positively impact your organization. If you need to bring in more people with these qualities so that you can develop future leaders, talk to us at Imprimis Group.