John Maxwell shares excellent advice for IT and business leadership development
In my book Developing the Leaders Around You, I devote an entire chapter to identifying potential leaders to develop. To me, this is the primary responsibility of any leader, and it’s also one of the most challenging tasks leaders face. It’s crucial to get it right. So what should you look for when you’re recruiting people to your side? Here are the five key areas I believe you should focus on:
1. Character — Without a doubt, the first thing you should look for in others in character. Strength of character is the foundation of all leadership; if a person’s character is flawed, their leadership will be as well. And I ask three easy questions to help assess a person’s integrity:
a. Do they take responsibility for both their successes and their failures?
b. Do they fulfill their promises and obligations?
c. Do they meet their deadlines consistently?
2. Positive Attitude — After character, one of the most valuable assets anyone can possess is a good attitude. People with positive attitudes do things others can’t, see things others won’t, and go places others don’t go. Their willingness to see potential even in the most challenging circumstances sets the tone for everyone around them, and that makes them exceptional people to spend time with and develop.
3. Self-Discipline — The quickest way to determine if a person is self-disciplined is to look at two key areas: their emotions and their time. Self-disciplined people don’t allow the emotions of others to overwhelm them; in a volatile moment, they can keep a cool head. Self-disciplined people likewise don’t allow the urgency or distractions of the moment to command their attention. They know how to focus on what truly matters. If you can find someone in control of their emotions and their time, chances are you’ve found a person with great self-discipline.
4. People Skills — To be a leader, by definition, you have to work with other people—and that’s where people skills come in. When looking for people to raise up as leaders, you should always look for those who have an ability to understand others, and who make positive interactions with others a primary goal. How we behave toward others determines how they will behave toward us.
5. Discontent with the Status Quo — What I’m talking about is more of a willingness to be different and take risks. You want people who are willing to change and grow—and push you to do the same. Leaders who become satisfied with the status quo very quickly become followers.
I keep a constant eye out for potential leaders no matter where I go, and I encourage you to do the same. Look for men and women with a good attitude who genuinely like others and want to help make their community a better place. Look for people who have the character and discipline to follow through on their word. I promise you, they are out there. Good leaders deliberately seek out and find potential leaders. Great leaders not only find them; they help them become great leaders in their own right.