As you build and grow your business, you’re going to have a significant need for effective leaders in your organization. At first, you may only have one or two employees, but as you extend your business, develop new departments, and build new teams, you’re going to need people who can step up to the plate and lead. So how can you find those people in your organization? Look for a few key traits.

THEY’RE HIGHLY ENGAGED

Leaders don’t just listen when you talk to them—they are actively engaged. In meetings, they ask for clarification when they need it, and they offer suggestions for improved processes. They aren’t afraid to take on more responsibility when it will result in good things for the company, and they are always looking for ways to improve their own work and the structures they work within. Look for this level of engagement, and you’ll usually find someone who is a natural leader with a lot of potential.

THEY HOLD THEMSELVES ACCOUNTABLE

You should also look for employees who are accountable for their actions, whether good or bad. If they make a mistake, they own up to it. If they see something wrong, they don’t try to hide it or cover it up. And they never try to pass the buck. Instead, they take responsibility for what they’ve done and they look for ways to resolve issues head-on.

THEY’RE EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT

While they are always looking for ways to improve themselves and others, they aren’t pushy. Instead, they display the kind of emotional intelligence necessary to read other employees’ moods and interact with them accordingly. They turn confrontations into positive interactions, and they work to improve interpersonal connections with their coworkers.

THEY DISPLAY EXCELLENT COMMUNICATION SKILLS

On that note, good leaders are also good communicators. They don’t just assume that their point was clear. They invite questions and discussion, and they always make their intentions and actions known. If they’re having issues with a project’s deadline, they’ll let you (or the appropriate team members) know early on so that you can work together to find the right solution. If they notice something amiss, they don’t hesitate to discuss it in an appropriate manner at an appropriate time. They know when to talk in person, call, text, or email, depending on the nature and importance of a message.

THEY’RE CATALYSTS

Instead of sitting back and watching what you’ll do when someone else proposes an idea, they stick their hand in the air and take the risk. They aren’t afraid to make decisions when they need to, and they’re willing to take responsibility for those decisions, whether the results were positive or negative. They’re results-oriented, and so they aren’t afraid to make the moves necessary to see the results they want.

If you see these traits in one or more of your employees, try giving them a bit more responsibility as a test-run for their leadership skills. Work with them to promote and nurture those skills, and you’ll be growing your own leadership within your business instead of looking for candidates to hire from outside.

When you hire your leadership from within (whenever possible), you’ll engender more trust and loyalty with your employees, and they’ll be more willing to work hard for you and your business. And, as you recognize leadership skills in your employees, you may see other employees working on those skills, as well. Thus, your whole team will benefit and you’ll notice significant growth in your business from within.

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