The following is taken from Leaders At Levels by Ram Charan:
Many people who think they know how to recognize a leader focus on highly visible attributes and skills, such as analytical brilliance, charisma, the ability to make great presentations, and the drive to succeed. These are fine things to have, but they aren’t sure signs of leadership ability. Look instead for the actions, decisions, and behaviors that reveal true leadership potential:
- What is the person’s ambition? Is it clearly for a leadership role, or is it oriented more toward making an individual contribution?
- Do they take pride in accomplishing goals on the basis of their own ability, or do they talk about bringing together and motivating others to achieve those goals?
- Does the person seem curious about subjects outside their area of expertise?
- Do they have a grasp of the business (organization) and basics of success?
- Can the person articulate clearly the requirements for doing their bosses job? Their bosses, bosses job?
- How does the person ensure that she is continually learning?
- How well does the person deliver results, and what is extraordinary about the results?
- Does the person have an incessant drive to shape the external environment and make progress?
- Does the person like to work with divers, high-caliber people, or do they bring along with them to a new job the people they are comfortable with and who are loyal to them?
- How driven and passionate are they about leading? Is it just talk, or is it realistic?
- Is the person dealing with increasingly complex and uncertain situations and using the occasional failure as an opportunity to learn?
- Is there clear evidence that this person has a methodology to continue to build new skills and hone their personality traits to achieve their dream of what they want to become?