The success of any organization is largely reliant on the strength of the leadership. Conveying a vision, formulating a strategy, and driving the company in the right direction is no small task. Thus, having a rock-solid leadership development program can be the game-changer to achieving long-term success. Your first thought might be to bring in talent from outside your firm. They have fresh ideas, competitive insights, and diversification, but it’s always easiest to build upon what you already have. Current employees know about past failures/successes, already understand your operational processes, and know the culture inside and out. They know more than anyone else what the strengths and weaknesses of your company are. If you train them, they have amazing potential, when given the opportunity, to make more informed growth-oriented decisions.
The future leaders of your company may be hiding in plain sight. How do you bring them out into the open? Let’s find out!
Potential > Performance
Most often, raises and promotions occur based on outstanding performance and the achievement of quotas and goals. Employee performance helps leadership understand an employee’s ability and expertise, which is valuable information. What many leaders forget to look at is an employee’s attitude, desire to grow, and overall potential.
Just because an athlete is one of the best players of all time does not mean that they can be an effective coach. Some of your employees are not cut out to be leaders even though they are producing at a high level. They may lack the visionary ability or their personality might prevent them from relying on others. This is why potential outweighs performance when looking for your next leader.
Characteristics of Future Leaders
Be on the lookout for those employees who have a natural ability to make things happen. These people gravitate towards making decisions rather than working slowly for fear of judgment. Employees who take action and try are more valuable in a leader than thoughts and theories at the water cooler.
Future leaders make suggestions for overall process improvement and are overly prepared for meetings and responsibilities. In those meetings, how do your employees act? Are they attentive and composed, or distracted and ready to get back to work? Future leaders are too intensely focused to get restless, too engaged to be nervous, and too invested to be bored.
Future leaders understand the importance of any task that has been entrusted to them, no matter how small. Take a look at those who take their job seriously.
Future leaders have a strong ability to multi-task. Not just tasks, but responsibilities as well. Future leaders light a fire within one group while simultaneously putting out a fire with another. Abrupt change doesn’t faze them. They pick up dropped balls and still find time to deliver on their core responsibilities.
If you want to test someone, give them some extra responsibilities or an assignment with a quick turnaround time. Do not be afraid to throw them in at the deep end and keep tabs on how well they swim. Can they handle the extra tasks you have assigned, or are they finding it difficult to be nimble and adapt? Do they have a “do whatever it takes” attitude, perhaps even putting in extra hours or soliciting the help of others for support?
Are They Just Extroverted?
“The goal of many leaders is to get people to think more highly of the leader. The goal of a great leader is to help people to think more highly of themselves.” – J. Carla Northcutt
Future leaders must be genuine and able to connect with those around them. A common mistake people make is mistaking extroversion for leadership potential. Extroverts love to be around people, relate to them, and can even be the loudest ones in the room. Being an extrovert can be helpful as a leader, but this is not the same as being an effective leader. What a future leader really needs is a high degree of self-awareness and the ability to interact with other employees outside of their hierarchy. Future leaders have high emotional intelligence and will not be consumed by negative emotions. You will never see a future leader make excuses for subpar results. When individuals with high emotional intelligence make a mistake and get criticized for it, they don’t spin out. They take notes and make improvements.
A mark of a future leader is someone secure enough personally to help others advance in their careers. They are confident without being arrogant. They are humble but have a high sense of self-worth. They are good listeners doing so with purpose and intention. They can deliver a tough message with a soft hand. They care about achievement and potential.
As you read these descriptions and tips, do some names come to mind? Put these thoughts into practice and find your next leader!
With over 90 years of Logistics experience, Top Talent is a recognized leader in Talent Acquisition for Logistics, Transportation, and Supply Chain., Let us put our team to work for you. To learn more about successful strategies for getting those impact players and game-changers on your team, reach out to us today.
– Michael Monson
President and CEO