Navigating the Leadership Pipeline: Best Practices for Talent Identification

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As a leader, nothing you do will ensure long-term impact like finding and developing emerging leadership talent.

Effective leaders are like gold-miners, always looking for the next “rising star” on the team.

Rising stars are those members of your team who are exhibiting ever-increasing passion, desire and, most importantly, results.

So, how do you actually spot them? What are the tell-tale signs effective leaders look for when they are prospecting for the emerging leaders on the team?

Here are four proven ways to spot the rising stars who are emerging all around you:

1.   Watch for migration

People will tend to “flock” towards a rising leader. Whether they be members of your team, or volunteers in your church or organization, there is always a movement of people towards centers of energy created by an emerging leader.

Watch for it. Because where you have an emerging leader in place, over time you will see more and more people drift into that leader’s orbit.

2.   Listen for “buzz”

A team led by a rising star will generate more water-cooler talk. People connected with that team will become raving fans and will increasingly pepper their conversations with news about that team.

Listen for it. Where you hear increasing “buzz” you may well have a rising star on the horizon.

3.   Embrace the tension

When you have a growing leader in place, they will start to consume more resources in order to generate and manage growth. They will need more facility space, more budget, and more organization-wide communication.

This resource consumption can cause mild annoyance among teammates. You need to manage these tensions, while recognizing they could be pointing toward a rising-star leader.

4.   Trace the pathway

Rising star leaders produce more rising star leaders.

Take a look across your organization, and look at the most effective leaders you have in place. If you were to trace their journeys back to where they began to exhibit exceptional leadership performance, in many cases you might find a common fountainhead.

In other words, at the place where emerging leaders are being produced, you likely have a rising star leader in your midst.

So keep prospecting for the next opportunity and the next breakthrough. But above all, keep prospecting for your next rising star.

Because when you find them, that’s as good as gold.

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.

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