Building Tomorrow's Leaders

Identifying and Developing Leaders

How to recognize leadership potential.

© iStockphoto

Organizations need leaders – and not just in top executive positions. Leaders are people who have the vision to see what needs to be done, and to motivate and energize people to perform excellently.

With strong leadership skills in place at all levels of your organization, you'll find it much easier to build a strong, respected and prosperous business.

However, spotting people with leadership potential is not always easy. To ensure your business's continuing performance, you need to identify these people and nurture their leadership potential – it's a potential that's far too valuable to waste.

So, how do certain people show they have what it takes to lead others?

The Right Kind of Potential

It's common to label high achievers as potential leaders. Unfortunately, it's not that simple: If people perform well, that only shows that they're well suited to their jobs.

Let's look at two examples:

  • Carla, the R&D expert, whose research led to discovering a new gene, is certainly a great scientist. Her co-workers admire the work she does, and it's very likely she'll be promoted because of her technical skills. But she doesn't share her knowledge, and she doesn't help others understand her methods.
  • Sue in marketing is a good employee whose work is above average but not necessarily extraordinary. However, what does stand out is that she has forged great relationships with people from all parts of the company. Because of this, whenever changes occur, managers count on her to see the benefits and motivate her colleagues to accept them.

Who is the real leader?

Chances are that Sue is a more promising leader than Carla. You won't know this, though, until you look deeply and observe her in action. What's clear from the start is that job performance, by itself, is not a reliable indicator.

To determine key leadership indicators it's important to recall some popular theories of leadership.

Leadership Theories

There are many theories of leadership:

Access the Full Article

This resource is only available in full within the Mind Tools Club.

Learn More and Join Today

Already a Club member? Log in to finish this article.
Add this article to My Learning Plan

Where to go from here:

Join the Mind Tools Club

Click to join Mind Tools
Printer-friendly version
Return to the top of the page

Your Score
Create a Login to Save Your Learning Plan

This ensures that you don’t lose your plan.

Connect with…

Or create a Mind Tools login. Existing user? Log in here.
Log in with your existing Mind Tools details
Lost Username or Password
You are now logged in…

Lost username or password?

Please enter your username or email address and we'll send you a reminder.

Thank You!

Your log in details have been sent to the email account you registered with. Please check your email to reset your login details.

Create a Mind Tools Login
Your plan has been created.

While you're here, subscribe to our FREE newsletter?

Learn a new career skill every week, and get our Personal Development Plan workbook (worth $19.99) when you subscribe.

Thank You!

Please check your Inbox, and click on the link in the email from us. We can then send you the newsletter.