Leadership Series #1: Spotting Leadership Potential Within

A good leader will not always come with a stellar resume and years of experience. It may come as a surprise, but some people hold key traits that have very little to do with what they have done, and a lot to do with who they are. Still, a leader does not simply appear out of thin air. Think of them like a flower: the type of flower you grow will surely depend on the seed you plant, but without the proper care, it will not blossom into something beautiful. People who have the potential to be leaders are created into such, and it’s in your best interest as a business-owner to be able to spot out the “seed” with the most potential to grow into a strong leader. It is important to be able to seek out potential leadership within your existing employee base, as this will decrease turnover and eliminate the need to hire externally for higher positions, saving you time and money.

As business owners and business consultants, we have had much experience spotting out not only our own potential leaders, but the potential leaders of the many companies we’ve worked with. Based on our experience and understanding, we’ve put together a list of traits and qualities that come in a strong potential leader. When you’re analyzing your employees to find the one — or few — who may be able to take their job to the next level, consider our list below.

What does a potential leader look like?

Affable

Interpersonal relationships are of the most valuable things within a business, both internally with your team and externally with clients. A strong leader will consistently exhibit friendliness, approachability, and a positive attitude. They will have a good sense of humor, and will be able to create calm in a stressful situation. A smile and a kind word go a long way, and your potential leader will give those out to all who they interact with like candy on Halloween.

Modest

A strong leader will not be too prideful to do a job. They will be able to understand that situations flow and change, and there may come a time that they will need to step in and take over for a coworker. No task is beneath them, and if the opportunity presents itself, they will gladly handle it themselves before asking somebody else. Along with being modest, a strong leader is self-motivated and independant, and will step up and step in without being asked to do so.

Trustworthy

A coworkers’ confidence in someone will make or break them as a member of the team. A strong leader can be trusted to handle their tasks and simultaneously provide support for their team. They can be trusted to take action when needed, and to be held accountable for any and all actions they take, holding others accountable for their actions as well.

Engaged

Team engagement is crucial in a successful business. Take note of the language used by your employees in meeting or discussions — a true leader will always use “we” versus “I”. They will communicate with their team about important decisions, potential improvements, and the overall environment of the workplace. There is great value in the opinions of each individual on a team, and a strong leader will seek these opinions out and implement them in their decision-making. They will do their best to be a positive influence on their teammates, creating a workspace where everyone is motivated to do better.

Solution-oriented

It’s not an easy task to approach your superiors at work with something so taboo as a problem. Nevertheless, a leader will advance with confidence, bringing forth a detailed explanation of the issue at hand paired with a well thought-out solution. They will be excited to offer their suggestions and create improvement within the business. Just as in any other time of stress, they will remain cool, calm, and collected, enhancing not only your business dynamic, but the environment of the workplace itself.

If, when reading this, an employee came to mind, you may want to consider that employee as a potential leader in your business. Begin to take note of them; notice these qualities making themselves apparent in their daily workflow. If you feel like they fit the description, you may just have a potential leader at your fingertips. If this is the case, don’t hesitate to plant that seed and create internal growth in your business.