Five Ways to Spot a Potential Leader

The constant cry of leaders everywhere is, "Where do I find more leaders? We have the workers and volunteers, but no one willing to lead them." 

Here are five ways to spot a potential leader:


1)   A potential leader holds the respect of his or her own family. This is often quickly dismissed but I think it is one of the greatest ways to spot a leader. A family's feelings toward another family member speak volumes. If he or she is not respected by their own family - the people who know them best - they, in the long run, will probably not make an effective leader.


2)  A potential leader has the attention and ears of others. When potential leaders speak, people listen. If a person already has a following of sorts, it may mean they have leadership potential.


3)  A potential leader exhibits a willingness to assume responsibility. Leadership demands that we step up: step up into a leadership role, step up into responsibility, and step up into accountability. It is exacting and can be demanding, but the rewards are wonderful. The joy of leading a group of individuals who rally around a cause to accomplish something worthwhile - the exhilarating sense of adding value to other people - is what leadership is about.


4)  A potential leader has the capacity to catch and create vision. Watch to see people's reactions when they are presented with a grand vision. Are they excited? Are they speaking in terms of "we" and "us" rather than "they" and "them"? Once a potential leader hears the vision, do they sense the thrill of the challenge? And can they communicate to others so that others also catch the same vision with like passion?


5)   A potential leader may have served in previous leadership roles. Some of the best leaders I ever discovered were because I uncovered their past leadership roles. As you get to know a person, inquire about things they have done in the past. Have they led an organization? Did they have oversight of personnel? Did they maintain a volunteer position in a former organization?


Reminder: it's been my experience that often, these people will try to fly "under the radar" for a time, especially if they are new to you or your organization. But leaders cannot hide themselves. The leadership flows of out them and they will be caught! 


Keep your antennae up, listen for verbal cues, and observe how a person handles him/herself in a room. You can learn a lot just by keeping your eyes open.




Am I sensing a lack of leaders in my current setting?

Who do I see as a potential leader?

When will I talk to him or her about taking their next step of leadership responsibility?