Identifying Future Key Leadership
Key future leaders lurk in a variety of roles beyond what most current leaders imagine. Missing these vital company players costs companies in profit and innovation, but identifying such talent can be time consuming and difficult. However studies show future leaders can be identified by searching for four leadership traits. Company events can be created to target these traits and simplify the identification process, improving productivity for all.
Potential Leadership Traits:
Willingness and eagerness to work
Constant drive to improve themselves and others
Committed to doing their best work and driving/inspiring others to do the same.
Value honest feedback and appreciate great communication - whether receiving good or negative feedback.
Discovering these traits in employees can be difficult given the rigorous schedules current leaders adhere to. However, simple adjustments in corporate culture can create a natural environment whereby such individuals are readily identifiable.
Three strategies to identifying key leadership traits:
Create a mentorship program - Oftentimes a mentor will be the first one to identify potential leadership in their mentee, but don’t forget to consider the employees who volunteer to become mentors. These individuals display their willingness to work and improve and motivate others by being energized by a mentoring program.
Host an internal pitching or idea event - “Your employees have ideas for improving processes, adding value, and growing the business, and some of those ideas may have been on their minds for a while. Giving them an opportunity to share them can help you spot good ideas and potential leaders who are always thinking about the future of your company and its customers.” - John Hall
Invite employees to contribute content - Be careful not to dismiss a contributor based on writing skills alone, consider interviewing them for content or presentation materials. This promotes idea sharing and gives potential leaders the opportunity to experience thought-leadership.
While identifying your A-list leaders, be mindful not to dismiss your B-Team. They play a vital role as well. While leadership can struggle to fit into company culture by nature of their creative and opinionated gifts, B players are often less concerned about personal career paths, and are more likely to go above and beyond in order to support the company and the company brand. B players need to be valued for their uniqueness, paired with appropriate positions, and supported as much as a company’s future leadership team. When engaged and appreciated, a company’s B-team can make the company culture and seamlessly carry out the leadership’s plan.