Monday, October 15, 2007

Eyeballing Future Leaders

This early, I'm looking at the field of candidates for 2010. Succession is important in business and why shouldn't it be as important to a country? So given we've done such a stellar job at picking our leaders and given, I join many Filipinos around the world at our general dissatisfaction with our leaders and to a larger extent, our politics, what can we do to improve our batting average? Perhaps we're not asking the right questions, so what are the right questions to ask?

What are we looking for in our leader? What do we expect from our leaders, from our public officials? Is it any less demanding than what we expect from our workplace leaders? Marketwatch has this interesting piece on how to identify our future workplace leaders:

If your organization is currently experiencing a power vacuum, Sullivan recommends throwing away the old playbook and using the following techniques to help identify potential leaders:

  • Measure performance. Don't allow your impressions of someone to dictate your opinions about capabilities. "Someone might be tall, but if he can't dunk, he's no basketball player," says Sullivan. By quantifying performance you can tell how much an employee is producing, which gives you a much clearer picture of abilities.
  • Try bonuses instead of performance reviews. Performance appraisals are rarely an accurate reflection of people's performance or potential, because they tend to be colored by the reviewer's subjective opinions, says Sullivan. Bonuses, on the other hand, often bring out an employee's true colors.
  • Identify innovators and "benchmarkers." In today's work world, leaders need to do more than command authority, says Sullivan; they need to be innovative, adaptable and curious. To identify potential leaders, look for people who are constantly suggesting new and better ways of doing things, people who keep abreast of innovations and those who measure their work against people they admire.
  • Try job rotations. If an employee seems to have stalled out in a current position, don't put him or her on the bench too early. Sullivan recommends doing an "interest inventory." Ask them what else they might be interested in trying and then give them an opportunity to moonlight in a different department. They may flourish.
  • Don't overlook the obvious. Just because someone's quiet or mild-mannered, doesn't mean they don't possess leadership potential -- they may already be exhibiting it without your knowledge. Sullivan suggests looking for employees who are eager to take on increased responsibility and those who tend to inspire confidence and trust in their co-workers.
Do you think we can apply it to our democracy? Are you eyeballing future leaders?

*image is of the Philippine Stock Exchange Plaza.