[July 25, 2018] One of the advantages of long-term and successful experience as a senior leader is the acquired ability to identify and promote talented leaders. It becomes a “calling” to find, support, and advance those junior leaders who show high potential as future leaders.
“Great things are accomplished by talented people who believe they will accomplish them.” – Warren Bennis
There are common traits that make it easy to identify talented leaders but there are also organizational cultures that must be considered too when good leaders are working to identify those who show the most promise. A track record of performance, ability to execute with minimal guidance, passion, ambition, a positive attitude, strong team player, and an active listener are some of those common traits.
But there are the less common traits that are not so easy to discover and use as criteria for a process that helps identify those who will eventually go far in their chosen organization.1 There is some controversy on this subject but it is a good idea to have a formal, open process for identifying talent that includes specific criteria.
I believe that it is in the best interest of an organization to have a transparent process that identifies talent. By doing so, everyone who may be interested will know what is expected to become a more senior leader. On the other hand, and surprisingly, the U.S. Army does not have a formal process but nearly everyone knows what is expected of them. Irrespective of the processes formality or lack thereof, criteria must be clear, fair, realistic, and beneficial to the organization.
What matters most is those good leaders have the ability to identify up and coming talented leaders. The must also promote them by providing additional education, network opportunities, better pay and benefits, appropriate challenges, progressive leadership responsibilities, and do so in a timely fashion.
This is what good leadership is about. Without such an effort to identify talented leaders, the future of any organization is suspect.
- This means that anyone who shows future potential must be a good fit. In other words, what may work for one organization may not work for another.