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Identifying Leadership Potential

By: Rob Numata


Leadership is a critical aspect of any organization, and it is essential to identify and develop rising talent early on. Good leaders are not only masters of their craft, but they also inspire and guide those they lead. While knowledge is teachable, innate traits are what elevate leadership.

  1. Initiative - Initiative in its early stages can take the form of asking relevant questions, engaging in meetings, and/or suggesting a new way of doing things. As a person adapts to their role, they may take ownership of projects instead of waiting for assignments. Taking the initiative demonstrates being comfortable with responsibility and accountability.

  2. Self-driven Development- A tie-in with initiative, self-driven development encompasses a person’s willingness to educate themselves. Do they set and express their goals for themselves in their role? If so, do they have ideas on how to go about achieving them?

  3. Introspection- A person’s degree of introspection is harder to gauge but an integral quality in a good leader. From an outside perspective, it may look like how the individual receives feedback; do they learn from their mistakes, or do they need continual coaching in one area? An introspective person can evaluate themselves and make adjustments when necessary.

  4. Adaptability - How well do they handle unforeseen circumstances? If assigned a last-minute project, do they go immediately into panic mode, or do they develop a plan and adjust their priorities accordingly? How an individual handles pressure speaks to their executive processing abilities of organization and problem-solving.


Scheduling one-on-one meetings or scheduled job shadowing provides existing leadership insight into an employee’s aptitudes while allowing the employee to ask questions and develop an understanding of the business culture. If an individual presents with a combination of the above traits, they possess not only the potential to uphold the company’s standards but the capability to improve upon existing structures.


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