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How to identify future leaders in your organisation

08 Jul 2021
For many organisations one of the toughest tasks is finding the right people to promote to positions of authority within a company, but how do you know you’ve chosen the right people?

When promoting people into your leadership team, you want people you can trust and who you feel will make the right choices and decisions in order to keep the workforce, and the company as a whole, moving forward. John Telfer, Managing Director at INSPIRING, says that “an inspiring leader will be able to spot talent in others and nurture that talent through forming trusting and productive relationships.” Here, we’ve come up with some top tips to help you ensure that you’re identifying and nurturing the future leaders within your organisation.


One way to spot the natural leaders within your organisation is to pay attention to how they communicate with their colleagues. Is there one person that people often go to for advice or assistance? They could be pointing you towards a potential leader. It is also worth observing how people communicate within meetings, noting how they have prepared for the meeting and how actively they participate in discussion and follow-up actions.

Soft skills

Within a workplace skills can be categorised as hard or soft. Hard skills relate to specific technical tasks, however soft skills relate more to behavioural or people skills, such as teamworking, creative problem-solving and communication – and these are the skills you need to look for in future leaders.

Linked In’s Global Talent Trends 2019 report  found that soft skills can make or break the decision to recruit a person, with 92% of talent professionals saying they matter as much or more than hard skills when they hire, and 80% say they’re increasingly important to company success. (Notably however, only 41% of companies taking part in the report had a formal process in place to measure soft skills.)

Soft skills are crucial when it comes to leadership and management. Commenting for CMI’s Insights, Petra Wilton, director of strategy and external affairs at the CMI, said: “So-called ‘soft skills’ are absolutely vital to business success – not least since many of them are in fact the basics of good management and leadership. It’s just not possible to be a successful manager without these core people and team-leading skills.”


When you’re reviewing future leaders for your business you want to be safe in the knowledge that they share the same core values as your organisation, and are passionate about what you’re trying to achieve. Forbes says that “By communicating the organisation’s values and your own, you provide clarity around the why of your decisions and leadership style”. When looking for leadership potential, look for those people who are in tune with, and keen to promote, the company’s ethos and values, as this is likely to suggest a reflection of their own personal values.


One of the key skills to identify in potential leaders is the ability to deal with, and recover from, setbacks. This skill relates to high emotional intelligence, which helps people to understand that others are judging them on not just the failure, but also on how they handle the failure.  Good leaders will show themselves to be accountable in both good and bad times, so this is definitely a worthwhile area to pay attention to.

Inspiring’s managing director, John Telfer, comments: It’s important that leaders and managers are not afraid to show their own weakness by asking for support where needed, especially when new to the role. It’s often the case that they will have to learn to cope with managing a team and dealing with all the issues that come with it, whilst continuing to perform their own important role in the company.


We believe that a great leader can engage your staff and encourage increased productivity. Spotting employees with leadership potential and helping them to develop their skills and behaviours will reap big rewards for both the individual and your organisation. Take a look at our Leadership Development services to find out how INSPIRING Business Performance can help you achieve your business goals.

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