A company’s growth story depends upon the leaders, who are at the forefront of making important decisions and strategies. In today’s times, where employee retention is a serious concern facing every organisation, employers cannot afford to have vacant leadership positions and jeopardise their company’s future.
Before looking for talent outside the organisation, it is recommended to keep a lookout for employees within, especially those who display qualities of a future leader.
It will prove to be a lifesaver to have a ready team of highly credible and efficient employees in place, who can assume the role of leaders, should any vacuum arise within the company. One of the amazing benefits of picking out leaders within your organisation is that they know the organisation. They are already well versed with the processes, systems, the underlying structure followed, work culture, etc.
Every business needs a set of leaders to sustain and flourish. Research states that high potential employees are 91% more valuable to a business than non-high potential workers. This is all the more reason to figure out who are these employees and really start to look at them as the leaders of tomorrow.
But how does one segregate a high potential leader from the rest of the employees? Here’s a list of characteristics that most of these employees will display, ones that will truly catch your attention.
How to Identify Leaders Among Your Employees?
Here are a few characteristics that set the ‘leaders’ apart from the regular employees…
1. Invested in the Company’s Future:
Look out for employees who display a high degree of interest in company goals and engage in its future plans and strategies. You will notice such employees contributing some great ideas, or proposing strategies to making the workplace better or helping grow the business.
Another way to spot them is to ask yourself if this particular employee goes above and beyond the call of duty in getting results for the organisation. Basically, he or she is someone who is completely invested in the company’s future.
2. Initiative and Accountability:
Every team has watchers and doers. The latter are people who, when facing a crisis, prefer to take action and work things out. They will not only come up with a plan of action but also look after its timely execution. They show substance in their work and will take full accountability for their actions, should things go haywire at some point during the project.
One of the most essential qualities of an effective leader is avoiding the blame game, and focusing on the way forward by trying to find a solution. If you have someone on your team who takes the initiative and takes accountability for his/her actions, you have a leader right there.
3. Emotional Intelligence:
Emotional intelligence is probably the most distinguishing trait of a leader. Apart from displaying leadership qualities like authority, taking the initiative, excellent communication, etc., it is equally important for a leader to have empathy, humility, and a basic sense of respect towards everyone.
Look for an employee who has the tendency to adapt his or her communication style to meet the needs of their peers, who tries to work out any conflict from an objective point of view, rather than let pride get the best of him/her. Such people do not let negative emotions like fear, worry, hopelessness, and victimisation get in the way of their work, but instead, have a strong foundation of ethics to help them surpass difficult situations.
According to Harvard Business Review, emotional intelligence accounts for nearly 90% of what sets high performers apart from peers with similar technical skills and knowledge.
4. Potential Matters:
Many employers focus on the performance of an individual without giving much thought to their actual potential. Performance is important too, and a necessary measure to identify abilities and expertise. But if you need to identify a leader, you need to dig deeper.
Try to look beyond performance and into an employee’s overall aptitude, the desire for growth, vision, team spirit, and ability to influence the organisation at every level. You may find some employees with an exceptional performance record, who may not necessarily possess enough substance to transform into future leaders. Tread carefully and always put more weight on potential than the performance of an individual.
3 Ways to Transform Employees into Leaders!
Now that you know what qualities to look for in your employees who can reign as potential future leaders, it is also important for employers to go a step ahead and provide those employees with the right environment and necessary tools to help in their preparation of the same.
Here are certain ways in which employers can prepare promising employees for leadership positions:
1. Help Them Develop the ‘Ownership’ Attitude:
The first step in charging someone with the responsibility of being a leader is to trust them with their decisions. The employee should be able to feel like a trusted and valued part of the company before even assuming such a role. Imagine expecting them to make impactful decisions, but also making sure that they run every move by you before taking the plunge! This is not empowerment.
Instead, trust their abilities, step aside, and give them their space. This will not only give them the confidence to make decisions themselves, but they will also learn to rise to the occasion and emerge as true leaders.
2. Help Them Network:
Leaders do not work in silos. They interact with everyone around them and develop an important position for themselves by learning new things with the help of a great network. As an employer, help your employees network with the right set of people who will help them forge a great career path for themselves, and eventually your business.
They should be able to hold meaningful conversations, connect with strangers, and not shy away from asking business favour, while returning the same as a good business deal.
Make them a part of events that are held not only within the company but also industry-wide, helping them build fruitful relationships. This is just another step towards making your future leadership position robust.
3. Help Them With the Right Opportunities:
If you want your employees to turn into future leaders, give them the right opportunities by helping them practise being a leader right from day one.
For example, if a leader is supposed to welcome the new hires and introduce what the company stands for in a way to develop the right vision amongst them, make the potential leader step in the role right away. This will help the employee open up and get a firsthand experience of what exactly is expected out of a leader.
Let them hold a presentation even if they have never done so in the past, but give them all the encouragement and help that they need to transition into the role. Work on such similar tasks that leaders are expected and required to know and do and help employees take them up, one step at a time.
Employers who have worked on developing their leaders today have better chances of running an organisation with a great future tomorrow. So keep an eye on your employees who will emerge as leaders to take your business forward in the right direction!