Identifying and Advancing Potential New Leaders

By: Rev. Ed Schneider, M.P.Th.

All organizations will tell you how important excellence in identifying, developing and retaining leadership is to their success. Some even covet the mistaken idea that a potential new leader will miraculously walk through their doors and spend the next couple of decades leading them to a bold and expansive level of sustainable growth.

Wow! Wouldn’t that be fun. (Insert a frustrated expression)

Unfortunately, most organizations have little practical knowledge concerning how to identify, evaluate, recruit, empower, retain and replicate new leadership. Sadly, the Christian church is no different.

In an effort to address this challenge  I am offering a listing of the minimum “tried and true” characteristics of HIGH CAPACITY leaders. If you are in search of potential new leaders start with these characteristics and fundamental tendencies.

Identifying high-potential leaders requires an appreciation of what these special people actually are, how they think, and what they are likely to do.  

  • Potential new leadership candidates need to excel in the foundations of “expert level” knowledge of their organization.  It is critical for elevating a potential new leader to enter his/her leadership role without any hesitation in the organization’s product or services, existing processes communications and delivery systems, organizational commitments, and the general philosophy that supports this basis of knowledge.
  • When an expert level of knowledge is openly recognized it will prompt others to accept their expertise, and therefore tangibly uplifting their reputation. For others to follow a new leader must have a reputation that will enhance the contextual goal of their assignment. Reputation is therefore critical.
  • It is safe to say that there are many talented and reputable people in the world. However, without a driving ambition to succeed their potential as a highly effective “leader” will be unlikely. Therefore, if your assessment of potential “new leadership” does not include a heavy dose of “personal drive” your goal of finding the right people, under the right context, and for the right kind of positive outcomes….will be limited, at best. Ambition is important.
  • Lone Rangers are an anathema to sustainable and replicating leadership. High potential leaders legitimately understand nothing organizationally can be achieved alone, and therefore embracing the pragmatism of partnering with other stakeholders is critical.
  • And finally, high capacity new leaders have to balance preparation with eventual risk taking. They cannot be afraid of making courageous decisions if it is needed. They must not be careless. However, a high potential “leader” must accept nothing is ultimately guaranteed, and therefore courage is essential in predicting potential new leadership.

Because of these basic requirements of foundational leadership we can also assume three more outcomes that will be demonstrated BECAUSE OF the above characteristics;

  1. Leadership is actionable. A high capacity leader will have a strong tendency to react to a perceived need to move beyond what is current into a desired set of clearly described and designated outcomes. They are personally prompted by the perceived need to move into action.
  2. Leadership is pragmatically influencial. High capacity leaders have an obvious ability and willingness to influence others. Because of their influence with others, they will intentionally prompt people to move where they want them to go.
  3. And finally, leadership values empowering others to do more, learn more and become more than they were.

Organizational growth that is boldly sustainable requires a vigorous commitment to investing in the potential of high capacity leadership. 

Because of this goal it is essential your organization truly values identifying, investing in, and promoting new “high capacity” leadership, keep your eyes, ears and experiential documentation ready to advance your organizational future through identifying potential new leaders through the characteristics mentioned above.



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