What is a High-Potential Leader and How do I Become One?

Hello Readers!

There are solid managers, and then there are leaders with the potential to think outside of the box, adapt to change, and lead their business into the future smarter, faster, and better than the pack.

Most large organizations have what they would call a “high potential leader pool”, which is the base of talent they will draw from to succeed as the next wave of leaders in the company. Being considered for this kind of advancement is not random – it’s all in your control if you make it a priority. Our organization is often brought in to companies to create leadership development programs for this exclusive group, and we’ve see what it takes to make it!

If you want to be considered as the next generation of leadership, you need to be able to see past the horizon, beyond what is and into what could be. If you decide to take on the attitude of a lifelong learner, you’re half-way there. Taking personal responsibility and injecting everything you do with passion, drive, and determination will also set you apart.

Here are three tips for becoming a high-potential leader, and they’re all about learning:

1.)   Ask your manager/ supervisor to consider you for stretch assignments. There’s nothing like having someone help you build up your experience, and when you have a supportive manager they can help you find ways to expand your expertise.

2.)   Take any opportunities your organization has for training & development. Even when your organization offers things that you don’t think you need, it can be a great investment of your time and energy to learn what the organization thinks is important. It’s a way to build relationships and to demonstrate your commitment to your own advancement.

3.)   Become a student of leadership, not just of your business. So many of us who move into leadership positions are expert in our business. Leadership is a whole new skill set. Become an expert in people! Learn about how to cultivate motivated, engaged, and productive teams.

High potential leaders are also excellent performers who contribute to the organization as a whole through their expertise and results focus. Ask questions, influence and motivate others, and cultivate a new and open state of mind. Becoming a High Potential Leader does not mean using your ambition to step on others to get ahead, it should involve positive steps to the next level of leadership that include making others around you better – which is the hallmark of a true leader. Like I said, it’s really up to you!


About karlinsloan

Karlin Sloan has committed herself to finding out what makes great leaders tick, and to supporting leaders to be the change they wish to see in the world. As a corporate citizen she is an advocate for triple-bottom-line reporting, for creating sustainable ways of working and living, and for creating positive organizational communities that work together for the greater good. She is the author of the acclaimed business book Smarter, Faster, Better; Strategies for Effective, Enduring, and Fulfilled Leadership which has been translated into Thai and Russian, UNFEAR: Facing Change in an Era of Uncertainty, and co-author of the 2012 book Lemonade: The Leaders Guide to Resilience at Work. For more information see www.karlinsloan.com or www.theresilienceproject.net
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