[July 31, 2017] Identifying talent has always been one of the markers of successful leadership. Genghis Khan, Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, and Richard the Lionheart all had this one thing in common; they surrounded themselves with intelligent, wise, and experienced people.
In short, they had the ability to identify and hold onto good talent among leaders. This is, of course, true of anyone in a leadership position historically and is especially true for those who are good leaders in today’s modern world. The volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity today are staggering and identifying talent is, predictably, a must-have skill.
Here are the top five things leaders look for in good junior leaders:
- A track record of performance
- Ability to execute with minimal guidance
- Passion, ambition, and positive attitude
- Strong team player
- Communicator and active listener
Identifying emerging leaders who have the potential to fill future senior positions has always been a long-term strategy. The Roman Empire existed over a thousand years because of their nation-building strategy that incorporated the conquered nations into their own civilization.1 They did this by identifying the best native leaders and allowing them to control the newly integrated culture.
“Wars, both civil and foreign, I undertook throughout the world, on sea and land, and when victorious I spared all citizens who sued for pardon. The foreign nations which could with safely be pardoned I preferred to save rather than destroy.” – Gaius Octavian, first Roman Emperor
The U.S. military has also been hugely successful in the area of identifying talent. From the time leaders are given their first position of responsibility, they are taught to be on the lookout for those who also have the aptitude and capacity to perform at a higher level. Incorporating those folks into the team makes the team leader’s job easier and leads to mission completion that much faster.
In a future blog post here in theLeaderMaker.com, I will elaborate on the first item – a track record of performance – because that one is the most commonly cited reason for selecting talent in the corporate world.1 A tough, resilient leader is what we all are looking for but how we get there takes a special skill only a few leaders possess: vision.
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