Countless articles and blogs address leadership and executive leadership development plans — and for good reason. Without great leaders, there would be no great organizations. Keeping the leadership pipeline full is one of the keys to creating and maintaining a successful business.
Leadership development within your company should always be a high priority. Some companies see a need to create an in-house executive leadership development program. Others turn to an outside program, or they pair employees with an executive coach.
No matter which route you choose, it’s important to select the people with the drive to get on the leadership track. But who are the right candidates? Potential leaders will often display certain traits to tip you off. Let’s examine eight of them.
1. The influencer
A leader can paint a vision of the future and then inspire the action to get there. Influential leaders demonstrate confidence and make others feel valued.
2. The communicator
People may know what they want, but if they can’t communicate their plan to others, it doesn’t stand much chance of succeeding. Nontechnical skills, such as the ability to clearly and succinctly communicate what needs to be done, are key. If a leader can’t relate a vision to a team, the result will be muddled.
3. The enthusiast
Passion can be infectious. It draws others in. Good leaders need to demonstrate enthusiasm in order to get others to follow.
4. The optimist
People with a positive attitude make much better leaders than gloom-and-doomers do. Upbeat leaders know how to keep up morale and steer activities in the right direction.
5. The rebounder
The ability to bounce back is a vital leadership trait. Dwelling on mistakes and problems does no one any good. People who can quickly pick themselves up, brush the dust off and learn from their experiences make good leaders.
6. The straight talker
Honest leaders help employees feel like they know where they stand at all times. No one likes to sit around wondering.
7. The adapter
Things go wrong. Computers crash, clients complain, and budgets are trimmed. The key is in how people deal with such setbacks. In addition to an ability to adjust strategies based on different circumstances, a sense of humor and poise under pressure are always welcome traits.
8. The supporter
While the bottom line is important, good leaders don’t throw their employees under the bus. Talented people want to work for leaders and organizations that truly care about them.
Once you’ve identified your leaders, nurture them. People who display a solid mix of these traits will likely benefit from a leadership training program. And if you don’t have the resources to develop one in-house or fear making mistakes, consider turning to an external service to nurture these future leaders’ full potential. It’s a continuous process that requires full commitment, but it can yield bountiful rewards.
When you assess potential leaders at your firm, what characteristics do you look for?