How to Identify a Raw Leader Within the Company – Elizabeth Heron

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Whether you like it or not, at the core of virtually every successfulcompany sit a handful of people that are good leaders and great decision makers. We are not going to start this article by naming anyone – you all know who they are.

So, why are leaders so important beyond the organizational and logistical aspects? Good leaders are very often agents of change that can play a transformational role within an organization, helping companies overcome market challenges and stay relevant in the businessworld. Any organization, whether we are talking about companies or political structures, will never be able to achieve its full growth potential when there is a leadership vacuum. In this article, we will focus on what exactly makes a good leader and, more importantly, how to identify a raw leader within the company.

Using Predictive Assessment Tools

In the current business climate, there is no shortage of companies that fail to put to good use predictive assessmenttools. Those tools can help the higher-upsin a company pick the employees with real potential, rather than the ones who just closely resemble themselves for management positions.

Furthermore, predictive assessments are useful in filtering out the employees who are unfit for leadership roles. When it comes to choosing an assessment, managers should sit down and agree what success looks like for each leadership role.

The next step is aligning the required skills for the job with the required success factors for each position, with an emphasis on the future. In other words, youwant people who are capable of building, executing, and maintaining long-term strategies.

Focus on Raw Potential, Not Objective Performance

Every company has its fair share of rough diamonds that do not stick out in one particular way or the other butare hard-workers and excel in some areas. Sure, nobody is saying you should go for the low hanging fruit and yes, performance can be an accurate measurement of expertise.

However, in order tofind the leader, managers should look beyond stats, graphs, deadlines, and performance reports. Raw numbers and statistics are not necessarily reflective of a person’s willingness to learn and aptitude to grow, mentor others, and communicate constructively.

Managers will often encounter lots of employees with great performance, but who are notcut out for leadership roles. Therefore, it is important to focus more on potential – which can be assessedby giving the employee small leadership tasks to see how they handle themselves, rather than performance.

The Level of One’s Investment in the Company’s Future

While, again, this is a highly variable factor, employees with high potential for leadershipwill display a higher degree of interest and dedication toward the company’s long-term goals and growth and willengageactively in their fulfillment. In other words, it is more than a job for them. They are fully invested in the future of your business and will take great care in ensuring its success.

So, how doyou asses one’s level of dedication to the company? The simplest method is asking yourself these questions:

  • Does the employee contribute with good ideas and clever strategies for improving everything workplace related and growing the business?
  • Are they focused more on collective or individual performance?
  • Do they take great care in ensuring that other employees are satisfied with their jobs and their roles in the company?

Raw Leaders Display Empathy and High Emotional Intelligence

The days of the tough, obnoxious yet deep down inside caring boss are over. That archetype does not fit well in the modern workplace. To ensure effectiveness and stability in the workplace, a leader should display a high levels of empathy and emotional intelligence and a healthy dose of charisma.To find the employees who display these qualities, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the employee a people person not necessarily in the “gets along with everybody” sense? In other words, are theyable tomaintain a professional relationship with everybody and not give into office gossip?
  • Do they take the time to interact with other employees?
  • Do they help other employees or put the good of the team before personal gain?
  • Is the individual a good team player?
  • Are they good at accepting feedback?
  • Do they not take personal offense when somebody brings up work-related criticism?
  • Do they have such a high degree of self-awareness that they ask questions such as ‘’Why do these issues keep coming up?”

If the answer to these questions is ‘yes,’ then you might have successfully identified the company’s next leader – a person who emphasizes the team over self and brings value to the company.

Do They Take Responsibility for Their Own Mistakes?

Imagine this scenario: something goes awfullywrong at work – an important project does not get delivered on time, a logistical mistake renders all the progress on a project obsolete, you name it. Most employees who will hold themselves responsiblefor those failures (regardless of their level of impact) will also display certain leadership qualities.

Thisis not to say that people who slightly shy away from taking responsibility for their actions are not necessarily leader material. However, for the sake of weeding out dozens of candidates in a timely fashion, you should take this aspect into consideration.

Put Together a Formal Process of Spotting Leadership Potential

If your leader-spotting process has so far worked and you have managed to find your company’s diamonds in the rough, it might be time to reevaluate your modus operandiand make some adjustments so you can continue to find more potential leaders. Here are some helpful guiding points:

  • Did you get the results you have been expecting?
  • Are said employees displaying skills you have either not considered or were unaware of?
  • Are those skills affecting the business in a positive way?
  • Is the office environment more stable and healthier overall?

However, it is worth mentioning that even if you find a few people with great leadership potential, it does not mean you should leave the company’s helm and just let everything run itself. Constantly meet with people, do surveys, and conduct brainstorming sessions to find other hidden gems.

Furthermore, you should also consider making this process a regular part of your company’s culture. This way, new employees will know that the company supports their upward mobility if they apply themselves and work hard for the benefit of both their colleagues and the business as a whole.


A company that invests time, effort, and resources in the search for future leaders is a company that looks forward to the future. If you know you have people with great leadershippotential that they might not