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How HR Can Identify Leaders in the Workplace

At least 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring per day, and they will take with them their extensive experience and seasoned leadership. The next generation of leaders coming from Gen X and Millennial groups are poised to take their higher-up positions in companies across New Zealand. As such, the human resources (HR) department of a company can help to identify and develop leadership talent through an effective leadership development program.

HR’s role in identifying leadership talent

The role of human resources has evolved over the years. The shift from personnel department to human resources department signal the changing view of the value of employee and how the company manages them. The most important role of HR is to ensure that the company has ample supply of leadership and management capacity at all levels. HR should ensure that the company is prepared to produce leaders. HR should be able to identify leadership potential among the current employees through observing these three main characteristics: shows aptitude and leadership potential, displays proactive behaviour, and demonstrates accountability.

Shows aptitude and leadership potential

While performance should be considered, HR and the company should look beyond performance. They must also determine the aptitude of the employee and their overall potential. It might also help to determine whether the employee has a growth mindset. Some individuals would have great performances, but they might not be leadership material. These individuals might be better off as followers. The leadership potential of the employee outweighs their performance.

Displays proactive behaviour

The employee has to be invested in the goals and performance of the company. They must show interest in the results of the company that are beyond what their role demands. For example, some employees in an organisation make things happen while some employees just wait and watch what will happen. The former type has leadership potential as these individuals are proactive in making suggestions to improve the processes of the organisation. They also become integral to the decision-making processes.

Demonstrates accountability in one’s actions

Employees who hold themselves accountable can also be identified as leaders. If there are individuals that do not shy away from taking responsibility for their actions, then they are leadership material. These individuals are not afraid to say that they have made mistakes and most likely to improve themselves in the process.

HR’s role in developing leadership talent

After identify individuals with leadership potential, HR should also create a leadership development program to start preparing these individuals for a leadership role. They should first define what effective leadership is so that everyone has the same definition. Then, they can also focus on the leadership skills needed in leadership roles in the company. HR should also create systems and policies that support effective leadership at all levels.
Leaders from inside the company are valuable because they already know the processes, organisational structure, procedures, and work culture of the company. They are also aware of the strengths and weaknesses of the company that helps them to have better and more informed decisions. By zeroing in on individuals who have leadership talent, HR departments can hand-pick the next generation of company executives.
written by Jane Sandwood