The first way I identify future leaders at my company is, wait for it….my gut instinct. If you have a STRONG gut instinct that someone on your team could be a leader for your company, pay attention to that instinct. That person might be working in an entry-level position. That person might be part-time. They may also say they don’t want to be a leader. But if your gut instinct is that that person is a leader – don’t discount it. Because if your gut instincts are anything like mine – they are rarely wrong.
The second way you can identify future leaders is by who you refer employees to when they have questions. In my business, when an employee asks me a question, I find myself referring them to another employee for the answer quite a bit. Or I may answer the question but then say, “Check with so and so about that.” I do that all the time because I know that other employee is the expert on that question. THAT person, that employee you send other employees to for an answer…that person can most likely be a future leader in your company.
The third way you and I can identify future leaders at our companies is by how the rest of the team interacts with that future leader. Is there one person who other staff members seem to naturally turn to for help and guidance? Is there an employee who is willing to show someone the ropes, or train a new team member, without being asked? That employee might be your next leader, the one people go to for answers, guidance, or to run an idea by, before they bring that idea to you.
The final way to help you identify future leaders in your company is the people who are willing to push back on YOU, the big boss, the founder of the business. A leader has to be able to stand up for their strategies and ideas. If one of your employees is willing to push back on one of your big ideas, you most likely have a leader there.