Look for these traits in future leaders

Look for these traits in future leaders

I don’t care if you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, a small business owner or a manager or supervisor; you are only as good as the people around you.  In other words, it’s important to surround yourself with success-oriented people. 

When hiring, always try to pick future leaders.  They may not be easy to recognize, but they’re crucial to an organization that wants to be innovative and intrapreneurial.  Here’s a list of factors that can help you identify and develop potential leaders on your staff:

  • Collaboration.  Look for employees who communicate well, delegate effectively and build strong personal relationships with their co-workers, managers and customers.  They’re committed to their own personal success, of course, but they’re also dedicated to helping other people.
  • Self-determination.  Intrapreneurial employees value their freedom and autonomy.  They like being their own boss as much as possible, as long as they’re doing something they enjoy.  Allow employees to make their own decisions as long as they’re moving firmly toward your organization’s objectives.
  • Planning skills.  You want employees who look beyond today’s tasks, who can focus on the long term as well as the short.  They’re good at strategizing and weighing options, and at making decisions that minimize risk and maximize opportunity.
  • Curiosity.  Most great ideas start with simple questions:  “What if I did this?  Why does that happen?”  Listen to employees’ questions to spot those who are interested in solving problems and learning more about how things work.
  • Comfort with technology.  Every good leader or potential leader stays on top of the tools that can mean success or failure.  He or she isn’t afraid to use whatever’s available – as long as it works.
  • Drive for action.  Focus on employees who take initiative without waiting until conditions are perfect.  They like to try things quickly, experiment and then move on to the next challenge.  They’re also not discouraged by setbacks.

Those are traits that employees bring to the job.  Now it’s up to you to help them develop the skills that will enable them use those traits most effectively. 

First and foremost, you need to be a role model.  People will learn much more from your actions than from anything you say.  If you want to be an effective manager, you must be comfortable knowing that your employees might be smarter, more tech savvy or have new ways of doing business.  Try to remember your early career and what you did to prove yourself.  Give them enough latitude to develop their own style, but be ready to offer a guiding hand when necessary.

Teach the importance of networking.  Learning how to make contacts is a necessary skill for every leader.  Stress the importance of both internal and external networks.  I frequently preach, “If I had …read more
Source: Harvey Mackay