Finding and developing good leaders
Spotting good leaders within a business can be a tricky task. It is common for those who are confident and domineering to gravitate up the career ladder more quickly than others, but this can often be damaging for a company. These individuals do not necessarily possess the skills required to be good leaders, and may be unwilling to try to develop these skills in the future because of their egos. Those with highly extrovert personalities often overshadow employees with the capability to be effective leaders. Discovering the hidden leaders in more reserved individuals can sometimes improve a company by ensuring that the right people make it to the top.
According to Larina Kase in her 2010 article Great Leaders are Great Decision-Makers, good leaders should be able to make quick decisions, communicate their thoughts effectively, and exhibit confidence. While certain individuals will always be naturally more inclined towards leadership, the key skills can be taught or sharpened in those who are not. Management training courses are available that can have a significant impact on how individuals think about management roles and prepare them for the challenges ahead.
It is often sensible to promote the next generation of leaders and line managers from within an organisation. This gives management the opportunity to encourage and maintain continuity in times of change. The promoted individuals will fully understand the working practices and values of the business, and management will have had an extended period to assess which employees show the potential to lead. Promoting internally also has the effect of creating a culture of trust and loyalty within the organisation, and can provide motivation through a clearly defined career path. If external appointments are frequently made for managerial positions, it is likely that staff will start to feel undervalued and consider leaving and working for competitors.
When searching for individuals who display leadership qualities, it is important to think carefully about what skills an effective leader should have. Good leaders tend to be able to communicate effectively with others, be inventive, and – crucially – have the ability to listen to what others have to say without steamrollering their own ideas through. Articles in Psychology Today and by Susan Cain in the Daily Mail, March 2012, highlight how introverted individuals can make good leaders but are often overlooked in favour of the more overbearing personalities within a group.
While introverted individuals are likely to need training to improve their confidence levels, the skills they often possess, such as determination, a willingness to listen to other ideas and a lack of ego, can be of huge benefit to many companies.