Seven Power Tips for Spotting Future Leaders
You’ll fail apart from surrounding yourself with talented people. This means:
Great leaders identify and develop great leaders.
One of my favorite Jack Welch quotes is, “The team with the best players wins.”
But, how do you identify the best players?
Look for those who are:
- Already active.
- Frustrated. They look around and don’t like what they see.
- Give voice to complaints and frustrations. Those who won’t say what’s wrong are dangerous.
- Seeking evidence. They say, “Prove it.” Show them what works.
- Grateful for opportunity. They need to matter. Give them purpose and you’ve won their hearts.
- Fearful at first; courageous in the end. Those without fear don’t appreciate the challenges of leading. Small successes fuel courage.
- Passionate. They care deeply.
Frustration indicates they want more. They aren’t satisfied.
Apart from dissatisfaction everything stays the same.
Look for frustration with self and/or frustration with circumstances. I’ll take either. But I prefer both.
Key factor: How future leaders learn to deal with frustration determines success. Some degenerate into whiners others escalate into difference-makers.
Team building is perhaps the most challenging and important activity of future leaders. Few are good at it – even fewer seek it. They see themselves at the center, which is fine at the beginning. Exponential success depends on a future leader’s ability to participate in and build teams.
What do you look for in a future leader?
The above factors are good, but not enough. They demonstrate a dissatisfaction with the present state, and a desire to participate in change. However, three more ingredients are required in budding leaders: 1) Humility 2) Stewardship 3) Persistent focus. Pride ruins leaders and distances followers. No person should lead who has not learned to actively follow. Stewardship makes them act for the organization’s good. Persistent focus on mission weathers hard times and pushes through them, and avoids wasteful use of resources trying to get good things done, rather than the best ones.
Powerful Marc. I’m thankful you stopped in today. BTW, None of my posts are enough.
These are excellent additions to Dan’s post. I especially feel strongly about your comment, “No person should lead who has not learned to actively follow.” I believe deeply that only the best leaders are those who have been followers first. Thank you to both you and Dan.
The most important thing I look for in a future leader is someone who is willing to do the work. It is very easy to sit and talk about the work and how others should be doing it differently, but it is quite another to put some of your ideas into action, even in small ways.
I look for someone who understand the vison; knows where we are going. I look for someone who is willing to think more deeply about the issues or situations beyond the oft-repeated rhetoric and gossip.
And, as Marc Bacon said in his reply, someone who can get focused and stay there. A focused individual will rise, and rise again.
Good post as always, Dan.
Love your number 2 (frustrated). Some leaders run from these gems! I look for the healthy discontented. They aren’t happy with the way things are and instead of whining they challenge the system and they challenge weak leaders. It allows for a great learning environment for how to shape their leader style.. Great post Dan. Your blog is worth my time! I enjoy following you.
Reblogged this on lewandog and commented:
Another great post by leadershipfreak. This time, it’s how to spot future leaders!!
Great post! I often use the frustration level of my stars during professional development as an indicator. I know that when they are frustrated, I’m missing something, and I would like to use that frustration as a jumping off point to help develop their leadership capacity.
Do have any ideas of specific reflection prompts I could use with them to help them articulate what’s lagging/lacking with the PD process so I can leverage their voice in the process?
Thanks again for a great post!
I would love to hear someone elaborate on #3. Why is it that not giving voice to your frustration is dangerous? Dangerous to who and/or what?
#3 The lesson of the Emperors new clothes perhaps highlights the dangers for organisations and senior management. When teams are wary of telling the truth about the organistation, this can prove distasterous as strategic decison making is based on falsehoods.
On an individual level, I am always concerned that relationships which are conducted on a surface level understanding of each other and the problems can never be fully effective or satisfactory. Transparency and integrity are key to credible leadership.
I think leaders avoid team building because it deals with soft skills and emotional intelligence. They don’t want to be perceived as touchy feely.
When I develop teams, it’s focused on understanding the values of each other as well as creating definitive measured business results.
I’d add in respect for others and their needs, as well…
I think frustration shows potential when it flows out of a healthy discontent. These folks see that things could be different (in a better way and often with themselves). They are willing to (as Kouzes & Posner call it) challenge the process.
BTW, I love your response above Dan about your posts not being enough. I appreciate the way they start conversation and engage thinking.
What about a willingness to share and develop the capacity of others? Good leaders don’t “hog” opportunity, knowledge or tasks.
7 Principles for Perfecting Leadership:
A Greater Leader:
Has a passion for wisdom. Wisdom is intensely practical; it is the art of being successful. Wisdom is seated in the heart, the center of moral and decision-making, respect and humility, servant-leadership, learning and growing. Wisdom is the fullest sense belongs to God alone. As a woman and as a leader, wisdom is the best choice with proven results in every situation.