06 August 2015

What really makes an emerging leader?

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Leadership can come in all shapes and sizes and the definition of a “leader” can be highly debated. The definition of leadership is “The action of leading a group of people or an organization, or the ability to do this.” When reviewing this definition, to me I see that a leader can either be an existing one, or one which is demonstrating the attributes of a leader, but has not been able to fulfil a position of leadership yet.

In this blog post, I consider the top attributes that any employee should look for in potential leaders. Not one attribute is more important than the other and it is always important to ensure individuals have a balance mixed of the following to be successful…

A supporter and promoter of collaboration

Those with the potential to lead understand the importance of working collaboratively with other individuals, departments and externals. They ensure they are pulling their own weight in the team and effectively completing work to the best of their ability. By doing so, they support the success of the team. Some behaviours that will demonstrate those who are excelling at collaboration include: assisting and supporting others in their roles; having a positive contribution in meetings and problem solving situations; having well developed relationships whilst constantly building positive new ones.

Superb time management

The phrase “time management” is overly used and often cliché when used in interviews, performance management and reviews. To have good time management is actually extremely hard and a talent in which many existing successful leaders can also still develop upon. In the workforce there will always be times when obstacles, challenges, pressure and work overload are faced, however it is in these times that real time management skills in potential leaders can be shown. It is challenging enough for some to manage their own time however, when an individual can manage and prioritise their own time plus others and not crack under pressure, the foundation of a worthy leader is brought to light.

Working with diversity

Existing leaders can be assessed one way by examining the teams they have built. Are these teams all similar to their leader and possess the same qualities, personalities or even gender? If the answer is yes, then maybe this person is not a true leader. True leaders excel in diversity and understand the importance of drawing and learning from a range of others to broaden their perspectives, values and ideas. A leader who is continuously learning is a leader every organisation needs if they also wish to grow and learn. This is easier to identify in existing leaders than emerging ones however, there are ways to determine if an emerging leader would support and develop a diverse team. Firstly, they may demonstrate the ability to work successfully without drama or conflict with any other team member. Secondly they may also thrive upon different perspectives and have the ability to listen carefully and understand others.

The list of attributes that organisations want to see in a potential leader is forever changing and near impossible for an individual to actively demonstrate all of them. To understand who will be the next leader, it is important to continuously assess (summative) their actions, take time to understand their personality and determine if their values align with the organisations. Remember, leaders do come in all shapes and sizes so it is vital every individual is given the opportunity to demonstrate their abilities.

As a tomboy child, Holly enjoyed watching wrestling and was The Rock’s biggest fan. She is from a tiny farming village in the north of England and has moved to Sydney to enjoy the city lifestyle. As a conference producer at Akolade, Holly enjoys researching with and learning from key professionals within a range of sectors to produce timely conferences. Furthermore, Holly enjoys how each day in the life of a conference producer is always different and exciting!

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