Transform your business: How to spot the perfect leader

March 6, 2018 Marc Altimiras



A leader is best when people barely know they exist, when their work is done, their aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. - Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher

Knowing how to spot a good leader isn’t about finding the most qualified, most versatile or most popular employee. It’s about finding a person who drives the company’s successes, knows the business inside out and links all the employees together. As Lao Tzu says, a leader is not always the person that is the most visible. A good leader should be the one who inspires everyone, is willing to learn and has enough strength and courage to become an indispensable asset to the company.

Even with record employment rates in the UK, employee engagement is still surprisingly low. Gallup’s report from October 2017 found that only 11% of UK employees feel engaged at work. Companies need skilled leaders at all levels to drive transformation and give support and guidance to their employees. If your company lacks sufficient leadership, it could impact your employee engagement rate and ultimately lead to a loss of talent.

Qualities to look for

So, what are the qualities to look out for when deciding who will make a good leader? In order to find this person, you should not focus solely on the technical skills that can be acquired while they work for your company. Dig deeper and, analyse their abilities and their relationships with the people around them. Unified platforms such as Cornerstone’s Performance Suite can help managers get to know their employees better. However, it’s not just about having a platform, it’s about knowing how to use it and having the ability to to spot potential leaders by looking at aspects such as:

  • Personality
  • Decisiveness
  • Security
  • Understanding
  • Credibility

In the past, managers would have monitored how employees handle unexpected challenges, observing how the employees handle presentations for the board of directors for example. If the employee isn’t asking valuable questions and solving problems, it may lead us to think that they might not be suitable for a leadership role. However, errors caused by nerves can cloud the abilities of a potentially good leader, leaving their future in the hands of a subjective opinion. With Cornerstone Connect, attitude and skills can be consistently analysed, measured and evaluated through an internal platform among employees. Using this, employees are able to see how they develop and interact with each other, and colleagues can score each other and share knowledge about their learning.

Keep an eye on the good ones

A good leader must be able to show that they can take on challenges and are able to ask for help from their colleagues. However, it’s important that they are able to make hard decisions and occasionally self-sacrifice in order to benefit the company.

Natural leaders will also often have earned the respect of their colleagues and be empathic and honest people that believe in teamwork and collaboration. After all, people are at the heart of any company.

Employers should always have a good knowledge of their employees and observe which ones could be suitable for a leadership role. Particularly as good leaders are likely to improve employee motivation and engagement.

Don’t rely on first impressions

When it comes to leadership, you shouldn’t rely on first impressions. When someone first joins the company, they will often have a positive attitude towards any management tasks you give them. However, as time goes by that employee may start to show signs that they are struggling with managing other employees, indicating that they might not be suited to a leadership role. It’s imperative that businesses observe their employees over time and provide continuous feedback in order to catch problems like this and implement a solution.

Using software that can accurately measure your employees’ day-to-day activities will allow you to see who is capable to grow and can help the team’s growth, whilst also driving excellence within your organisation.


About the Author

Marc Altimiras

Marc Altimiras is Regional Vice President South Europe at Cornerstone OnDemand, leading the sales operations for Spain and Italy.  Mark has over 20 years' experience in enterprise solutions sales and business strategy. He has a passion for people, technology and innovation, and truly believes that the key to a company’s success is the people that build it.

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