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Is the Leader You Need Hiding in Plain Sight?

This article was originally published on the Human Capital Institute blog.

Have you ever bought something for your home only to realize you already have exactly what you need? This same phenomenon happens in the workplace, and on an even larger scale. The leader you think you need to hire from outside your organization may already be working inside your organization.  They may be hiding in plain sight; doing a great job for you, but in another capacity.

Before looking outside your organization for a leader to fill a key role, don’t forget to look inside, within your existing workforce.  Not only are current employees familiar with your culture and brand, but offering them upward mobility increases your chances of retaining them long-term.

Promote High-Potential Employees

Sometimes it’s hard to recognize the potential in existing employees when you only see them in the role they currently fill.  To help you better recognize employees with high potential, I’ve put together a simple list of characteristics to use as a benchmark. You might notice that in this case, “PROMOTE” becomes an acronym, because that’s exactly what you should do when your talent embodies these traits.

Open to Criticism
Manage Well
Open to Change
Take Ownership

A high-potential employee is excited about the vision of your organization and is eager to see the team succeed. These inspiring individuals possess charisma that motivates others to work toward a common goal.

A rising leader should be socially adept at interacting and caring for people.  Great leaders are approachable and good listeners.  They are viewed as mentors that people naturally want to follow.

Being receptive to negative feedback is the mark of a good leader.  When someone welcomes criticism as a way to improve, it shows maturity and a learner’s spirit.  This also allows for a culture of open communication where everyone benefits.

Being able to manage tasks, people and stress well is key to a good leader.  These three things are plentiful in the life of a leader and it’s important that the individual is able to find a balance. They must be characterized by being a good delegator, and also someone who can handle the pressure that comes with the job.

Today’s constantly changing world requires a leader that is flexible and agile in their thinking. Yesterday’s problem solvers may not be ideal solutions for today.  A high-potential employee can adapt to changes and can effectively guide a team through changes.

When someone is willing to take on the responsibility of a project or a team, it comes with an expectation of success.  Some people don’t want that pressure.  However, when you see someone who is willing to step up and take ownership, in the highs and lows, you’ll want to make note.

An individual who is excited about the success of others is the makings of a good leader. They see strengths in others as an asset and not a threat. A true leader is supportive, empowering and motivating.  They will encourage others, which is a win for all.

Need a great leader to join your team?  Don’t overlook the leaders that are already on your payroll.  Know how to spot them and then PROMOTE them to well-deserved leadership positions!