Leading Leaders: How to uncover drive and foster potential

Leading Leaders: How to uncover drive and foster potential

Effective leaders give their company far more than an abundance of skills and experience.

Skills can be learned and experience and qualifications gained, but there is no substitute for the enthusiasm, motivation and passion great leaders possess. These people can mean the difference between an average team and a high performing team – they are the leaders every company wants to keep, nurture and develop to their full potential.

A key priority for leaders should be to uncover and foster leadership talent, in other words ‘leading the leader’.

So what makes a leader tick, and what can managers and CEOs do to guide their leadership group or emerging leaders to true greatness?

Encourage them to develop their own leadership style

Recognising a leader’s strengths, habits and idiosyncrasies can help you develop their talent to its full potential. Managers need to recognise the emerging or apparent leadership style of their employees, and show guidance or reason for improvement where needed.

How does a leader develop their leadership style? Developing an authentic and unique style plays a key role, although learning by example from mentors who display their own passion and motivation while adapting to the needs of others, and to the project or goal, is also very powerful – especially during the formative years.

Establish a clear understanding of what drives leaders

Great leaders have a firm goal and a clear strategic path to follow. It is this goal that truly gets them fired up and gives them the unbridled passion and enthusiasm they display every day and inspire in their team – no task is too hard, too boring, too trivial.

A manager or CEO should have a clear understanding of what drives their leaders and understand their goals and motivations – why are they so passionate about what they do? Motivation has a clear impact on behaviour, so knowing why your leader works the way they do will help you provide the most appropriate guidance.

Recognise the importance of self development

Great leaders are excited by opportunities to take their skills to a new level, and thrive on personal development to help them achieve strategic goals – they cannot be the best without active guidance and means of improvement. They are recognised as an important resource in the business plan, which only adds to their enthusiasm for the role.

It’s lonely at the top though, which also explains why an increasing number of leaders engage an executive coach to challenge their thinking and be the “devil’s advocate” that is often needed.

Reward their loyalty through succession planning

Employers can benefit greatly by developing succession plans for employees who rise through the ranks to seniority. An effective leader is supported in their decision to exercise company loyalty, and ideally should be rewarded in return.

Succession planning is a crucial factor in employee loyalty and retention. CEOs and managers may include their leadership team in succession planning details in a bid to further understand their motivations and foster their career goals.

Realise that the potential for leadership starts at the recruitment process

“Jobfit” is an important concept when recruiting leaders or potential leaders. Jobfit relates to an individual’s compatibility with the job, and the tasks that are performed as part of that job. It is linked with organisational culture – a poor jobfit can result in poor performance by the employee and detrimental effects to the team culture.

Recognising jobfit and potential for leadership begins during the recruitment process. The advanced scientific JobFit™ tools we recommend increases your success rate of identifying future top performers by 300%. (If you would like information on these please contact me directly).

Discovering what fuels a leader’s passion, what style of leadership they practice and what areas can be improved will not only help you understand their motivations, but guide them to become the best at what they do.


About David Leahy

David Leahy is the Director of Directions Unlimited, a specialist consultancy providing people solutions of every shape and size – from JobFit assessment testing, behavioural interviews and outstanding managerial tools to executive one-to-one coaching, team and group coaching programs. David “gets” business having worked for more than 30 years with multinationals and SMEs. An accredited organisational coach, he possesses a broad coaching experience having coached at CEO and Senior Executive level in the USA, South America, Europe and Australia.



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