How to Identify and Develop Your Organization's Future Leaders


If you want to be a successful organization, converting raw talent into the next generation of your organization’s leaders needs to be a strategic priority. Despite the fact that high employee turnover is growing phenomenon in the labour market, organizations that are able to attract and retain the best talent ultimately perform the best over the long term.

Get senior leaders on board

This is a critical first step to developing talent and creating your organization’s next generation of leaders. Senior leaders will ultimately mentor and develop these high performers, so you need their by-in. Most should already understand why this is important to long-term prospects of the organization, but it’s still important to make sure everyone is on the same page and understands what specific responsibilities they have as part of this new process.

Assess current individuals in your organization

You need to take a look at your current organization and assess who potential high performers and leaders might be. This is about much more than someone’s aptitude for their current job; it’s about assessing every aspect of his or her personality to see if they are suited for the demands of a very different kind of job. Here are some attributes to look for:

  • A desire to excel in all aspects of work
  • An ability to learn new ideas and concepts quickly and translate them into concrete actions
  • An enterprising spirit that seeks out opportunities and how to take advantage of them
  • An ability to assess interpersonal situations quickly and adapt accordingly

If you see someone with these kinds of abilities, then they should be placed in the fast-track for your organization.

Make sure your process is measurable

This is an important side note for when you are evaluating which employees are potential high performers. Often managers and executives are called upon to simply select one themselves without criteria, which can lead to an unfair processes and championing their selection. Try to develop evaluative criteria that has some kind of measurement process to it and make sure everybody is involved follows it.

Give them real world experience for growth

Once you’ve chosen individuals you want to take the next level, you need to give them opportunities in the real world to develop and hone their skills. Even when they make mistakes their ability to learn from them will make them stronger leaders in the future. Whether it is leading an important meeting, a crucial sales call or a big work project, help them break through whatever limits they may have been imposing on themselves. Of course, a good manager should still be there to provide proper support and guidance.

Formalize these processes to ensure all new staff are a part of them

Once you’ve made growing and developing talent an organizational priority, you need to make sure that this process is formalized.  Schedule a review every six months to assess current high performers and whether you see gaps in your current approach to talent management and evaluating new recruits. This way you will create a sustainable talent growth process that will pay dividends for years to come.