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Challenges in Identifying Potential Leadership

When leaders are chosen, the decision can at times be based on the wrong criteria. Many look to people with strong, charismatic personalities or passion for personal achievement. They look to people who are commanding or who manage the efforts of others well. Some people even look to physical attributes as an indication of leadership ability.<br /><br />The misconceptions of what makes a person a good leader are not limited to these factors. They also include our choices of personality characteristics. Some see great leaders as people who can mesmerize a crowd with their stage performance, who can make those around them relax with their confidence, or who can think circles around other senior people in the organization.<br /><br />In reality, these traits and characteristics are not indicators of great leaders. Rather, great leaders are characterized by their focus on integrity over stage performance; passion for what is best for the company over self-importance; humility and passing forward credit over ego; and empowering their people to make decisions on their behalf. There have been numerous books written, research conducted and data compiled that point to these findings; however, even extraordinary companies with insightful, intelligent and experienced boards of directors and senior executives have erroneously chosen leaders based on their perception of leadership capabilities.<br /><br />Leaders can either drive organizations to market capitalization of hundreds of millions of dollars or to losses equally as great. It is hard to dispute that leadership plays a vital role in the success of a company, yet many organizations do not have systems in place to identify and develop potential future leaders.<br /><br />Few people can pick great leaders, so the question remains: How do organizations create a system for identifying great leaders in the early stages of their development? Do they use psychometrics profiles to identify the leaders with the best traits and fast track them on a path to more senior roles? Do they let the people inside or outside the organization decide who will be the next leader? Many decisions must be made, but before making these decisions, organizations must be aware of their faults in choosing leaders. Organizations need new ways of deciding who will be a leader, as leadership impacts the organization as a whole. Hard-working employees rely on their leaders to make the right choices for the company and ensure the employees have a future with the organization. <br /><br />It&rsquo;s difficult to know the right answers, but it&rsquo;s clear that investing in the development of potential future leaders will provide a company with advantages over organizations that hire people from outside to fill internal leadership roles. As a result, companies are turning to post-secondary institutions to assist them in developing their leaders from within. Forward-thinking companies are already realizing the benefits that can be achieved by investing in their people and consequently the future of their organization.