It is important for any organization to always be activitely looking for candidates from within the organization to develop as leaders. Investing in current team members who already have the heart of the mission is directly investing in the organization's future. It's time to look around and see who is has the potential to be a great leader.

BE CAREFUL! Don't make the same mistakes many of us have made when choosing who we will develop as leaders. Here are two big mistakes that are easy to make:

1. Only choosing candidates with charismatic personalities. There is absolutely nothing wrong with charisma but there is more to leadership than just charisma. Don't be so quick to look over the members of your team that are not as boisterous but have the potential to lead well if they were encouraged. 

2. Only choosing candidates because of "connections". If it all possible, avoid getting tangled up in "politics" when choosing who should be developed into a leader. Do all you can to not play the game of  "who knows who" or "who owes who a favor". Developing leaders has nothing to do with getting on anyone's good side. It's about the success of the mission and the future of the organization. 


The key factors to look for in a candidate for leadership development is:


     Does this person possess integrity? Do they stretch the truth to get themselves out of trouble or to make themselves look better than they are? Have they thrown their teammates under the bus when a project has gone bust? Are they willing to be accountable and transparent in their work?


     Does this person regularly show up to work on time? Do they consistently finish their tasks/projects before a deadline? Do they show consistent growth in the work they produce? Do they consistently contribute to the team with ideas, solutions, and strategies? Do they possess a steady and positive outlook/attitude on an every day basis?


    Does this candidate have drive? Are they self motivated? Do they take initiative to push things forward? Are they willing to take risks? Do they see added responsibility as an opportunity to grow or as another task for their to-do list?


      Is this candidate a team player? Do they get along with their colleagues? Are they peace-makers or pot-stirrers? Do they engage in office gossip? Do they celebrate their colleagues' wins? Do they intentionally encourage their colleagues? Are they able to navigate conflict with a colleague with maturity? 


    Leadership development is essential for keeping your organization healthy. Identifying the right candidates should be ongoing process and a clear path of leadership development should be a priority. Warren Bennis said,

Growing other leaders from the ranks isn’t just the duty of the leader, it’s an obligation.
— Warren Bennis