How to Spot Leadership In Your Employees

May 15, 2019

The talent that is placed in leadership positions can make or break the success of a company. A high quality leader has the ability to transform the team into a cohesive unit that can achieve goals and exceed expectations.

If you have a leadership position that needs to be filled, you likely will be drawn towards turning to your own resources before looking at an outside hire. Someone who is already with the company knows the ins and outs of the business. They know the processes and methods, the company culture, and the challenges that the business faces. Not to mention, they will be able to move into the position with firsthand experience of what it is like to be an employee at the company.

As you are searching for talent within your company, you will need to focus on key potential leadership qualities that can make an employee successful in the role. These tips will help you understand how to spot leadership potential, and what exactly to look for in your employees so that you can narrow in on the best talent that is already at your fingertips.

They are Engaged in their Work and Contribute Ideas

When you are looking for signs of leadership skills in your employees, you will want to look for someone who is engaged in their work and actively contributing to the day-to-day functions of the company. Employees with leadership potential don’t simply clock in, do their work, and clock out. They show up and find opportunities to make an impact that helps the overall success of the company. When appropriate, they voice their opinions and offer up ways to mitigate problems or make everyday functions more efficient. They have a genuine interest in the work at hand, and will offer valuable insight from their position to make the company as successful as possible. An employee that actually cares about their work has the potential to bring that dedication to a leadership position, and inspire employees to follow in kind.

They Go Above and Beyond

Building on the above, employees that exhibit signs of leadership skills will do more than simply what is required of their job title or the task they are assigned. They don’t just show up and do the bare minimum. They will take the tasks at hand, and take steps towards making sure they are not only completed, but executed in the best way possible. Beyond that, employees with leadership potential will lend a helping hand to their co-workers. Even when they have their own tasks to tend do, they don’t hesitate to assist others to achieve deadlines and get the necessary work done. They know that by helping others, they are helping the company move towards its overall goals. They aren’t just there for a paycheck—they are there as a valuable member of a team.

They Look for Opportunities to Continue Their Personal and Professional Growth

When looking at employees with potential leadership qualities, while you do want to look for skills and a successful track record at the company, you will also want to look for potential and willingness to grow. Those who show consistent growth are better long-term options than those who are simply resting on their laurels. The top employees don’t limit themselves when it comes to personal and professional development. They seek out opportunities to learn new skills and gain experience, so that they can be a valuable asset at the top of their game.

Focus on employees who have demonstrated a willingness to grow. That could mean they’ve asked leaders in the company for mentorship opportunities, have sought out classes to sharpen their skills, or have taken on new tasks that will challenge them. This proves that they aren’t only working towards reaching their fullest potential, but that they recognize that they don’t know everything and that they have areas where they can improve. This humble attitude is essential for a leader who can successfully connect with other employees at all levels.

They are Strong Communicators

One of the most important signs of leadership skills in an employee is strong communication. A leader who can’t efficiently and effectively communicate with others is rendered useless. Even if they have the necessary technical skills, knowledge of the industry, and other necessary soft skills, if they can’t communicate well, processes within the company will not run smoothly. Communication is key to the success of a company, so look for employees who are able to express their ideas and concerns clearly and concisely.

They are Respected by Their Peers

If you are focused in on a specific employee to fill a leadership position, there is a pretty good chance that you have a strong sense of respect them. What is potentially even more important, however, is that they have gained the respect of their peers. When a leader is respected, people pay attention to them. They fully listen to what they have to say, whether it is praise or constructive criticism, and will continue to work hard to meet the standards the leader has set. Take note of how a certain employee fits in amongst their co-workers to decide if they are truly respected by their peers.

They Adapt Well to Change

When you are looking into how to spot leadership in an employee, it is important to consider their adaptability. A leader needs to be able to roll with the punches and not let them knock them off their feet. On top of that, they need to be able to seamlessly guide employees through rough patches or changes to normal procedures. Take a look at how your employees have adapted to changes in the company over time. Look at how they’ve adjusted to seasonal shifts in workload, how they have connected with new employees or managers, or how they reacted when problems surfaced. If they were able to adapt and thrive, they possess a key quality necessary for an employee to step into a role as a leader.

They’ve Already Exhibited an Ability to Lead

Even without the official title, employees who naturally possess leadership skills will find the appropriate opportunities to step up and lead—even if it is on the smaller scale. Examine how an employee shows up when working on tasks with peers. Do they take the chance to lead, or fade into the background and quietly do their work? Employees who step up in these moments show that they are not only able to lead, but willing to do so as well—meaning they’ll be much more enthusiastic when approached about leadership opportunities within the company.

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