Leadership development: Spotting quiet leadership potential

November 15, 2017 by Wally Bock

Leadership development is part science and part art. The best programs excel at both, especially when the challenge is identifying people who might become effective leaders, but who haven’t been promoted yet. That can be tricky.

You won’t have a problem identifying people who think they should be leaders. They’re likely to tell you, in no uncertain terms. They’re the men and women who ask about your leadership development programs during their job interviews. They may be asking their boss what they need to do to get promoted.

It’s harder to identify men and women who could become effective leaders, but who don’t shout about it. Some of them know they have the skills but don’t want to take on the responsibility. Some grew up in a culture that thinks self-promotion is vulgar. Some don’t understand what the leader’s job is all about.

Leadership development and science

Psychological assessments and 360-degree feedback are part of the 21st Century leadership development toolkit. Use them to help you identify the quiet potential leaders in your midst.

Leadership development and art

Here’s a tip. Leaders with real leadership potential can’t help leading. Leaders (even quiet ones) have followers. That makes them easy to spot.

Be alert to the two signs that a potential leader’s peers pay attention to him or her. Their thoughts and opinions matter. Heads turn to them when a question is asked in a meeting. Others solicit their opinion and ask them for help.

The quiet leader with big potential is the person who enjoys helping others succeed. They’re quick to help and quick to share or deflect credit for team success. They’re more ambitious for team success than individual success.

Your company needs all the good leaders you can get. Don’t miss the quiet potential leaders just because they shout that they want to lead.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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