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Are you a potential leader?

leadershipSpotting – and nurturing – potential leaders

Identifying and nurturing potential leaders is vital to the future of British business.

Someone once said: “Leadership is hard to define, but easy to recognise.” Once a person is in a leadership role, this may be true. But how do we look at the current crop of middle managers, and identify those who have the personality, creativity and interpersonal skills to become the ‘movers and shakers’ of the coming decades?

Many companies have structured programs for spotting and developing potential leaders. But how do we make sure that our systems don’t inadvertently weed out the ‘wild cards’ that can truly make a difference?

Systems for identifying and nurturing talent: are these the answer?

Spotting potential isn’t easy. England’s recent early exit from the World Cup presents an interesting example of a large organisation with highly structured systems for identifying talent – yet which ends up producing mediocrity. What was most noticeable was the general lack of any really outstanding players in the England team.

Surely there must be some potentially outstanding footballers in the UK – those with the leadership potential and flair of the likes of Messi and Rinaldo. If so, then the system to spot potential just isn’t working effectively.

English football is dominated by the Academy system. Large clubs have literally tens of thousands of youngsters in training at any one time, and are forced to provide full teams to compete at each age range – 9, 10, 11, and so on – rather than mixed age range teams (which allow for variations in physical development). Since the nation only needs four thousand professional footballers at any one time, clearly many of these boys will not proceed to careers in football. In fact many (some as young as seven) are called in abruptly and told that their services are no longer required, often with devastating effects on the youngsters’ confidence. Some even give up football altogether.

Those who don’t fit the mould, or who are late developers. Those with family problems at the key selection points. Those with less family support. Those whose physical development is ‘out of synch’ with the strict age ranges of the teams. All of these youngsters may be those rare talents which would transform English football. But they are weeded out and discouraged at an early stage.

Encouraging those who don’t necessarily fit the mould

The challenge for firms is to spot those who don’t necessarily ‘fit in’ in every respect, but who have the potential to be truly outstanding. Given some support, some training, and the freedom to ‘spread their wings’ without a crippling fear of failure, these will be the men and women who will transform British business in the coming decades.

Individuality and leadership

Truly great leaders are individuals. Illumine’s course From Competent Manager to Leader recognises the importance of this individuality. It aims to help participants to gain a better understanding of their personal style, and how to adapt it to inspire and motivate others.

From manager to leader

Management development is key to the long term future of companies. Training in leadership can be an effective way to reflect on the essence of leadership, as well as to acquire the practical skills necessary to implement those creative ideas which are the mark of an outstanding leader.

Find out more about Illumine Training’s Management and Leadership courses here

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