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Tim Millett
Published by Tim Millett
08 October 2013

Excellent leaders know that identifying and nurturing leadership qualities in the team helps to increase productivity and provides people who are ready to step up to the plate when organizational changes occur, making new leaders necessary. It is good to have a number of people who you can delegate to when you need to and this includes delegating your leadership role when you are on leave.

With this in mind, it is important to avoid the trap of the “Crown Prince Syndrome” where you focus on the development of only one individual. The development of all team members is important to your success, and will provide your organisation with a talent pool while also ensuring that you are not put in the position where your one back-up leaves for whatever reason.

Here are four characteristics of essential leadership qualities, and some of the ways you can identify if any of your staff members have these qualities.

  • Good Interpersonal Skills
    Excellent interpersonal communication skills are essential for a leader of any size team. If you notice that an employee is able to communicate effectively on different levels and adjust the conversation to the needs of the person they are communicating to, you have a potential leader among your staff.
  • Good Time Management Skills
    Leaders must be able to manage their own time and meet deadlines, especially those that impact on other team members’ tasks. Give your staff tasks and see who manages their own time effectively to complete the tasks. These are good leaders in the making.
  • Ability to Take the Initiative
    Leaders must be able to respond quickly to solve problems and to take the initiative to prevent problems proactively from occurring. Anyone who not only can work unsupervised and still produce excellent work, but who will take the initiative to come up with a solution or solve a problem is well worth nurturing.
  • Ability to Work with Others in the Team
    Every leader has to work with a myriad of personalities and in a team environment. If you have staff members who consistently produce their best work when collaborating with others, you could have potential leaders. Good teamwork is a key leadership skill.

Once you have identified the potential leaders in the team, you need to consider how best to nurture and grow this leadership potential. Talk to the individual and see if the person is interested in stepping up to leadership roles within the company. Encourage the individuals to take on some small leadership roles, even if it is just chairing a team meeting, under your supervision.

Offer to mentor and support the person to grow their leadership skills. You may have identified team members who have a couple of the above characteristics, but could develop some of the other essential leadership skills. In this case, training in that specific area of leadership could be the answer. Mentoring employees who show leadership potential allows you to take a role in seeing they develop the skills they need to become effective leaders. Leadership training courses are an easy way for individuals to learn and develop the skills that set leaders apart from other people in the team.

Identifying and nurturing the potential leaders in your team takes some time and dedication, but provides you with staff who are skilled and ready to take on the challenges of leadership when needed.

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