How To Identify Your Future Leaders

The best leaders and the best organisations invest in their people. It takes a lot of different ingredients to make a team successful but the most important quality, the one
08 Sep 2018 10:30
How To Identify Your Future Leaders

The best leaders and the best organisations invest in their people.
It takes a lot of different ingredients to make a team successful but the most important quality, the one thing a team can’t live without is its people.
The All Blacks, the most successful team in sports history, has a motto.
“Better people make better All Blacks.”
The core principle of their success is that they know if they focus on making their people better than they are able perform at a higher standard,
If they continue to aim higher then they will continue winning.
I’m often contacted to come and work with organisations to help them train their people, to make them more productive, more proactive, more innovate.
In basic terms I turn people into leaders.
There are numerous studies that have demonstrated that organisations who invest in training, in particular future leaders are more productive and achieve better business results.

Investing in employees
There are many barriers facing organisations today especially time and money.
It’s difficult to invest in everyone so you need to select your special employees.
The ones who will provide the biggest return on investment, the members of your team that will be the future leaders of your organisation.
So just how do you select these people.
In this article, I will share with you the secrets of how to select the future leaders of your organisation and how to make them your star performers.

The path to becoming a good leader
The first thing to consider is that everyone has the potential to become a leader.
But you don’t just want leaders, you want good leaders, the type of people that can inspire and motivate others.
The path to become a good leader is easier if you start your journey with some core qualities.
It’s these qualities that you identify in your employees.

In order to learn new skills a person need to be receptive to learning and this itself is a skill.
In order to invest in the right people you need to identify employees who have a track record of being open to learn and change their behaviour.
These people will embrace new ideas quicker than other people and will also be more open to adopting new behaviours.

Mental toughness
When The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) looks to recruit astronauts for their space programme they don’t select people who have experienced nothing but success.
Instead they look for candidates who have faced obstacles and setbacks yet have found a way to overcome them.
They know that leaders will face difficult times so the best candidates are prepared to deal with these situations.

Effective leaders have the courage to stand for something and if necessary makes decisions which are unpopular.
The best candidates have a history of taking risks, thinking outside the box and even challenging those around them to push themselves and others.
They have had the courage to stand up for what they believe is right.
These people will make better leaders.

When I personally look for future leaders I don’t look at qualifications or test results.
Instead, I look for other indicators of intelligence.
Some of the smartest people I know didn’t go to the right schools but they do know how to learn concepts quickly, fit those concepts together and apply them to their work.
My advice is to look for problem solvers rather than academics.

Your future leaders are currently working in your workplace and in their own way are already influencing people and leading by example.
They are those within your organisation who perhaps don’t just know the company values but are actually living them.
It’s the people who are emotionally invested in the organisation and work hard and represent what the organisation stands for.

A big issue when deciding whether to train people is the concern that you spend all this time and money to make them better skilled only for them to then leave for another organisation that gets the benefit of those skills.
This is always a risk which is why you want to prioritise employees who have demonstrated a commitment to build a long term career within the organisation.
Remember loyalty works both ways.
I’m always reminded of a quote by Sir Richard Branson:
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don’t want to.”

Time it takes to become a leader
I have to stress that everyone can become a leader as long as they make a decision to become one.
Yet the time it takes to become an effective leader can be shortened if candidates have the above qualities.
These qualities can be learnt, developed and improved but it’s more difficult to develop these personal qualities than it is to develop qualities like communication, motivation or conflict management skills.
If you are able to identify the next generation of leaders within your organisation and you can commit time and money to develop these people and you will reap rewards far greater than what you invested.

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