Future Leaders – Turning Potential Into Reality
If there was ever a time to focus on retaining future leaders, it’s now. Retaining high performing and high potential people could make the difference between your company achieving growth plans and getting stuck, or even backsliding. Here’s some thoughts on spotting, developing and retaining future leaders.
There are four key traits that leaders seem to have…..Curiosity, Insight, Engagement and Determination.
Curious people seek new experiences, ideas and knowledge. They like to be on the leading edge. They ask questions during meetings and offer suggestions. They solicit feedback. Curiosity fosters developmental of other key leadership competencies including Results Orientation, Strategic Orientation, Collaboration, Influence and Team Leadership. Curious people often emerge as informal leaders and gravitate to managerial leadership.
Insightful people can make sense of a vast range of complex information and recognize hidden opportunities that can set new directions…the idea people in the room. They can also switch effortlessly from high level, conceptual thinking to intelligent analysis of granular data. Insight is strongly linked to Strategy and can also predict the future development of competencies such as Market Understanding and Organizational Development (right people in the right seats).
Engaging employees seek to understand themselves and others and know how to connect on an emotional and logical level with individuals and groups. They’re able to communicate a persuasive vision, which helps others feel more connected and committed to the organization. They’re likely to be collaborative, influential, effective team builders and inclusive. They like a variety of ideas and opinions and are good at getting people comfortable and involved.
Determined people are motivated by challenging goals, have the courage and willingness to take intelligent risks and will remain resilient in the face of headwinds. They’re results-oriented and keep others motivated in the face of adversity. They are also willing to make necessary course corrections when its apparent Plan A isn’t going as planned (they don’t suffer from “not invented here”).
The Most Effective Leaders Are Home Grown
You have future leaders with one or more of these four traits at every level in your organization. Watch for them and ask your senior leadership team to do the same. Single them out. Create opportunities for these “up and comers” to develop their gifts in an informal, or formalized leadership role. Rotate potential leaders through jobs. Give them stretch assignments. Involve them in training and coaching. Send them to leadership courses. Even though they may not be asking for that kind of recognition (not all leaders are extroverts), believe me, they’re looking for the opportunity and will seize upon it. I know I’m singing to the choir in suggesting that the most effective leaders are homegrown so be sure to nurture your garden.