Look for These Traits in Future Leaders

Have you surrounded yourself with a workforce of success-oriented people? They may not be easy to recognize, but they’re crucial to an organization that wants to be innovative and entrepreneurial. 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. Entrepreneurial 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, and 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.


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