A leader has many responsibilities, but one of the most important is that person’s ability to spot leadership talent in the workplace. Another co-joined ability is the one of guide or helper in making the most of each person’s talents.
Foremost in the talent area is the ability to lead. At each level of an organization, there needs to be leaders. It is not only the responsibility of the top to lead. If that person has been well-chosen, there will be levels of leadership developed to help spread out the stress of keeping each organization running smoothly.
How do you spot a potential leader in among the employees you lead? We are all aware of many qualities that define a leader; that of being able to set goals; that of being motivated as well as the ability to motivate others; and, that of having a good work ethic. But it is just as vital to take into account certain attitudes and personal characteristics that will help prepare a person for leadership:
1. “Happy with who they are” is a nebulous statement, but you can tell that person has identified and conquered the ability to say, “When I am in a room by myself, I like who I am with.”.
2. Sociable in a friendly way, but not part of a clique is an important attribute. It is the person who responds to others, without needing to be surrounded by people who admire them, who will lead well.
3. Patience is a wonderful quality to have. Allowing others to learn and grow takes patience. Nothing will benefit the organization more than a leader who patiently helps others do that.
4. Hard-headed and soft-hearted is almost an oxymoron, but it is a real characteristic of one destined for leadership. Will that person put up a brick wall against dishonesty or lying? Will that person look at all aspects of the job to be done and drive toward a goal of enriching the company? Will a person order flowers when an employee loses a loved one? Some people do not even bother to find out about their employees’ “other side”. If that employee satisfies the leader with their work, other parts of the employee’s life are immaterial and irrelevant.
5. Teachable is a quality often overlooked in potential leaders. We often look for the person who is sure of themselves; has a driving force to succeed; is not willing to see where they could improve with any advice given to them. When an employee is confronted with a mistake, do they ask for the better way to do that job, or do they immediately feel affronted and grow hostile? Leaders are not wanted who never make mistakes because they are not cognizant of the human side of their employees.
Brilliant, even hard-working, people are not always the best leaders. A leader needs to take these other characteristics into account when looking for potential leaders.
Marc McDermott is a former manager and people leader of a large organization who has since moved on to manage his own businesses in a variety of different industries. Marc continues to subscribe to the leadership and goal-oriented values in all his entrepreneurial endeavors.