Thank goodness most organizations are beyond the old practice of promoting people to leadership positions simply because they handled their current job with skill and diligence. Assessing one’s leadership aptitude or instinct by way of assessment tests and interviews is now an almost universal early step in identifying a prime candidate.
But even more valuable is observing the individual in action in their present role. Consider the following when weighing someone’s leadership potential:
- Are they Trusted?
Are they seen as someone in whom colleagues can put their trust? Not just ethically, although that of course is critical. But in addition, are their knowledge, wisdom and know-how trusted. Do people turn to them for advice? Perhaps on how to move an idea forward, whether an issue should be escalated to management, how to resolve an interpersonal issue, or how to overcome a performance problem. In a nutshell is the individual a trusted go-to person on the team?
- Do they Recognize and Celebrate Others’ Success?
Rather than competing with colleagues, is the individual the first to highlight a teammate’s success? Do they not only pass on a word of congratulations but spread the word as well?
- Do they Generously Share their Knowledge and Expertise?
Does the potential candidate readily share their learning and support their teammates’ development and achievements. Ideal candidates are natural coaches. Although they may have more to learn about the art of coaching, they reach out when they see a colleague who is in need of guidance and do so in a casual and comforting way.
Emerging leaders are people who are respected for their knowledge and wisdom and whose generosity of spirit draws others to them.