Helpful information and advice from
America's favorite workplace columnist
Thursday, July 30, 2015
How Potential Leaders Get Overlooked -- and What to Do About It
In the workplace, it’s those who are outgoing, ambitious, dependable and intelligent who rise through the ranks and assume leadership positions.
But are we missing something? Could it be that organizations are overlooking the truly exceptional leadership talent in their ranks that are critical to scaling a business?
Scott Edinger thinks so. As the co-author of “The Hidden Leader” with Laurie Sain, Edinger contends that too often the outstanding employees who truly impact the bottom line aren’t groomed for the C-suite because they may not be the most vocal or friendly person on a team or in a department.
So, they stay hidden – and organizations miss a golden opportunity to thrive under their leadership, he says.
Still, there are still plenty of opportunities, he says, for organizations to spot these hidden gems. For example, a hidden leader is often someone who shows up for meetings without canceling at the last minute or meets difficult deadlines instead of making excuses. In addition, they may not be the most outgoing.
“I think we have to debunk a lot of myths that just because someone is shy or introverted, that means they won’t be a good leader,” he says. “There are many other important qualities that should be considered.”
Edinger says organizations can not only learn how to better spot these hidden leadership gems, but also work to “unleash” their potential. He suggests:
Looking for integrity. “This is much more than just looking for someone who doesn’t lie or cheat,” he says. “We all believe we have high integrity, and we’ll never say we can’t be counted on.” That means organizations need to dig deeper to find the employee who shows integrity every day by keeping commitments, speaking honestly when asked for feedback and being responsive in a timely way. It’s often the worker who “shows up” in a lot of smaller interactions, willing to show courage by offering an opinion that may not be popular or consistently delivering even in difficult situations, he says.
Because of this person’s integrity, “team members know they can depend on this person to get a task done, ask management for resources or tell the team the truth (read more here)