How To Spot Leadership Potential In Your Employees

How To Spot Leadership Potential In Your Employees

Not everybody on your staff team is cut out to be a leader. In fact, there will be those people who aren't interested in leadership positions at all.

However, there will be people within your employ actively looking to climb the career ladder. Not content with stagnating near the very bottom, they might be looking to impress you to prove their credentials. And there might also be people within your employ who show leadership potential, even though they might not have considered themselves for higher-ranking roles.

In this article, we will help you spot leadership potential in your employees. This will give you the impetus to approach them with offers of leadership roles when they arise within your company. And by asking the right interview questions to worthy candidates, you will be able to pick the very best people for the jobs you have available.


Signs of leadership potential


#1: A strong work ethic

There will be some employees who don't show a strong work ethic at all. They might turn up late to their shift, hand in shoddily produced pieces of work, and regularly fail to meet deadlines. On the other hand, somebody with a strong work ethic will manage their time well, work diligently, and will consistently excel within their position. If an employee does show this level of quality in their performance then, they might well have what it takes to handle greater responsibilities within your company, including those tasks that are required of a management position.


#2: An active interest in your company

Some employees care more about the pay packet at the end of the week than the ongoing workings of the company they are employed with. And that's fine; in many ways, this accounts for the majority of people working today. However, you might have employees in your care who show a higher level of engagement. These are the people who care about the bigger picture, with interest in what the company does and how it operates. They appreciate they are merely a cog in a larger machine, but they still care how that machine operates! So, if any of your employees have taken an interest in the inner workings of your company, and perhaps have made valuable suggestions as to where improvements could be made, then they may be showing signs of leadership potential.


#3: Excellent communication skills

Excellent leaders have excellent communication skills, so this is something you need to watch out for. Do you have any employees with the skill to explain difficult processes simply? Do you have any employees who are able to put across their opinions in a firm but fair manner? Do you have any employees who have clearly thought about what they are going to say before speaking? It's not about how much they say, or how loud they are. Rather, it's about what they say, and how articulate they are when conveying their thoughts. Communication also extends to nonverbal skills, so if you have any employees who possess skills in active listening, show empathy to others, and who appear approachable through their body language, then these skills, alongside those verbal traits, may indicate that they have what it takes to be an effective leader of others.


#4: An openness to learning 

A good leader knows that they have never stopped learning. There is always some weakness to work on, and some knowledge gaps to be filled, so despite rising to the top, there are always ways to be better! This might be something you need to understand for yourself, and it might be something you need to consider about your employees. If any of them show a willingness to attend the training courses you recommend to them, or if they go out of their way to apply for courses that will develop their skills further, then you might consider them worthy of leadership potential. These are the employees who are clearly keen to progress further, and as a good employer, you should pick up on this and help them open doors within your company. And when you have spotted such an employee with leadership potential, you might also aid them in their learning, perhaps with an encouragement to take such courses as this online masters in communication and leadership, and by taking them under your wing to teach them more about the industry they are working in.


#5: The trust and respect of others

Trust and respect are not easily given; they have to be earned. If a leader struggles to earn the trust and respect of their employees, they will not get the best out of them. Should you be in a leadership position yourself, this is something you will understand. And so it is with any employees that may be considered for leadership positions. If they are respected and trusted by their colleagues, then they might have what it takes to manage them. You can get a feel for this in team meetings when an employee speaks, and others listen with intent. You might also see it in the workplace when an employee does something to earn trust and respect. These are the employees who don't gossip and backstab. These are the employees who go out of their way to help others. And these are the employees that others go to when they need support, be that on a personal or professional level. Think about your employees then, and search for those people who are looked up to by their colleagues. They could well be the perfect fit for any leadership roles within your company.


In summary

Somebody with leadership potential will not only work to the best of their abilities, but they will actively pursue opportunities to improve themselves, with skills and knowledge training. They will show commitment to the company they work for and will take an interest in areas that don't necessarily pertain to their job description. And they will be respected by others, and will actively go out of their way to care for the people around them.

In relation to the above then, does anybody come to mind from the people you employ? They could well be a leader in the making, so take steps to encourage and help them into a greater position within your company. Chances are, they deserve the opportunity you can give to them.


Friddy Hoegener


03 April 2019

Back to Insights