3 Ways to Identify Up-and-Coming Leaders

Posted on: May 8th, 2019 by Jen Mueller

Leadership skills aren’t acquired, they’re developed and encouraged.

Which means you can’t sit back and wait until you’re ready to be a leader. In fact, if you want to identify a leader – look for initiative. That’s according to Beth Knox former President and CEO of Seafair and the 2018 Special Olympics USA Games.

Beth joined me recently for my Learn from a Leader online leadership development series and shared these thoughts on identifying leaders.

“Initiative to me is someone who is curious. They ask questions.” Taking initiative includes asking questions about what the end result should look like.

Take this action: Build business relationships. It’s easier to have conversations with established leaders regarding their vision for a specific project or company objectives when there’s an exsisting relationship in place. Starting conversations is a way to show initiative. Use small talk to develop business relationships.

“They give me status reports and updates.” Taking initiative to provide status reports is as much about keeping an open line of communication as it is getting ahead of potential problems. According to Knox, “all of that information helps me help them.”

Take this action: Stay on the radar. Conversations at work can’t be all business. If the only thing you give mangers is status reports and the only time you talk to colleagues is when you need something to finish a project they’ll stop wanting to talk to you. It’s human nature, and you can avoid that by using small talk to stay on the radar and talk about something other than work every once in a while. (I’d suggest using the weekly sports conversation starters on the blog.)

“They own mistakes.” Initiative isn’t just admitting mistakes it’s asking questions and identifying ways to avoid the same situation in the future.

Take this action: Have confidence in your relationships. It’s hard to admit you’ve made a mistake or that you’re behind schedule, but avoiding those conversations won’t resolve the situation and doesn’t make it easer. When you’ve developed business relationships and stayed on the radar you can trust there’s substance to the relationship and be less apprehensive about tough conversations.

Here’s another way you can take initiative in developing stronger leadership skills – join me and my guest Karen Phelps Moyer on May 23 for the next Learn from a Leader session.  The 90-minute ONLINE leadership development session includes real talk on:

  • How to be seen as a leader
  • Ways to pivot in your career and utilize your unique skillset
  • Why networking is important in developing advocates and supporters

Karen wide-ranging experience as a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist provides unique insights perspective that can help you take initiative in your career.