How to effectively identify leadership potential in your workforce

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How to effectively identify leadership potential in your workforce 290X217No one is born a leader. Leadership is comprised of different abilities, traits and behaviours that people attain (to a certain degree) on their own and that should be developed and enhanced.

What is essential to know is how to recognise the high potential individuals (HIPOs) in your workforce in order to invest in and develop their talent to become a successful leader.

How can a company be sure what traits and capabilities to look for to understand the true potential of their workforce? Are companies currently actually assessing their workforce correctly or do they overvalue the wrong things?


These are the top three qualities to look for to identify leadership potential in your workforce.

1. Strategic approach and perception

A strategic approach defines the manner in which people think about, assess and create the future for themselves and for others. 

They are able to recognise problems that could arise, friction that could be created and can plan ahead for those challenges.

This is the key ability that sets leaders apart from others. The capacity to keep a strategic perspective, see the big picture with all its different components and to develop winning strategies, paramount to leading effectively. 

2. Motivator of people

Leadership cannot exist without followers. Being a leader is first and foremost about people – the interactions a person has with people they work with. 

By observing the way an individual in your workforce communicates with people - their team, their superiors or people they manage - you can identify if they are someone who inspires and motivates.

  • Are they someone people look up or turn to for guidance?
  • Do they put themselves forward and serve as an example to others?
  • Do they freely share their knowledge and expertise? Do they also do that without being asked to?

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3. Good communicator

Leadership means influencing people in several ways – verbally as well as behaviourally. 

In order to be able to share a compelling vision and direction, a good leader has to be able to know how to translate their ideas and goals to the people they work with in a way that makes them understand their part in the process. 

A HIPO will be able to describe ideas clearly and concisely, explain the specifics and make sure they are understood. 

A good communicator also knows how to listen. They will treat other people’s ideas and opinions with respect, listen empathically and will be dynamic enough to incorporate feedback or criticism to improve their own vision when needed.

Identifying the potential leaders in your workforce is the first step on the way to ensure growth and the future success of your business. Once you have identified those future leaders it’s time to create a development plan that will train them, build on their existing capabilities and develop new leadership and management skills.

Below you can see the top courses for manufacturers who are interested in developing leaders in their workforce:

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