Are you looking to identify leaders within your team? It can be a daunting task but fear not! We have Taipan’s very own Managing Director, Allan and Sales and Marketing Director, Amy, on the case. As leaders themselves who often are tasked with putting people into leadership positions, they’re the perfect people to ask.
Grace: Hello readers, today I’m interviewing Amy and Allan to answer the question, ‘how do you identify leaders within your team?’ So, let’s get started with a basic definition, what is a leader?
Amy: I would say a person who guides and inspires others. Someone who others follow because they respect what they have done for the organisation.
Allan: For me, I would describe the ultimate leader as a life coach. They mentor, guide, train, give direction and offer support while encouraging their team to own their role. All from an objective viewpoint allowing their people to develop into the best version of themselves they can possibly be.
Grace: Is there a leader you look up to that embodies what you’ve described?
Amy: Jim Rohan and Jane Wurwand are two that come to mind.
Allan: That’s what I was gonna say! Well since you stole mine the CEO of Walt Disney, Bob Iger is also another good one.
Grace: Those are some pretty outstanding leaders but how can you find someone like that?
Allan: Finding someone like that isn’t as tricky as you may think. Leaders can be found in the most unlikely places but the best place to begin is within your own team. There is no better motivator than promoting from within.
Amy: I agree, within your team you know your own people better than anyone and you know what strengths they do and don’t have.
Grace: Do you have any examples of times you’ve found outstanding leaders within your own team?
Allan: There are actually quite a few, Linda our CEO of Administration started with us as a Receptionist over 20 years ago.
Amy: There is also Sammy and Troy. Troy who started in Internal Sales is now the East Coast Operations Manager and Sammy, our R&D Manager, started as a picker at Rocklea.
Grace: I guess identifying leaders within your team is a tried-and-true method! So how do you do it?
Amy: You can identify leaders by knowing what you are looking for, which is a superstar who shows all of the right qualities. They are someone who is passionate about the job, but also knows how to be a team player. They are invested in getting the right outcomes for the whole team and have more than just themselves at the forefront of their mind.
Allan: That’s right, true leaders display specific traits. They stop clock watching and become advocates to the cause. They buy into the mission and vision. They are enthusiastic, proactively participate and begin to seek out solutions rather than moan about the problems or situations. They genuinely want the best for the business and everyone in it.
Grace: So, let’s say you’ve found a leader with all of those traits, when do you know it’s time to put them into that leadership position?
Allan: There’s a couple of ways to look at that question Grace. Firstly, there needs to be the opportunity within your organisation. You can’t make someone a leader when there isn’t a legitimate role to fulfil.
At the same time, if you have a person who is ready for a leadership role, it will pay to find one for them before they find one on their own and not necessarily at your place of business. People will always grow faster than the organisation, but keep in mind creating a role can be detrimental if the company is not ready.
Grace: That’s some solid advice, what about if you’ve wrongly identified a leader all together?
Allan: I would say that there certainly are times where you can wrongly identify a leader. You only have to look around to see there are people in leadership positions all over the world who perhaps shouldn’t be leading in the capacity they currently are. I tend to think a lot of Managers get their titles because they were good at the job they were previously doing; I know I did! Trouble was, I had never been educated on how to deal with people and knowing how to interact, relate or communicate with people, well that’s an entirely different kettle of fish.
Amy: I agree, while there are times when you can wrongly identify a leader it’s more often that they are still developing.
Grace: So, if they aren’t ready and are still developing what should you do?
Amy: In times like these it’s important to reflect and remember where you started. As Allan said he’d never been educated on certain things when he started out. If there is potential keep in mind that no one is perfect, and people need time and resources to learn and grow.
Grace: I totally agree. Before we go, do you have any parting words of wisdom?
Amy: It’s a journey, it takes a lifetime to develop a leader, but good bones make a good house so keep working with them.
Allan: There is a really good book called the 5 Levels of Leadership, we’ve been working on the principals of that book since I stepped into the MD role, I find it extremely valuable. People are individuals so there are definite stages of development.
Grace: Great advice! Thank you both for putting aside the time to do this interview with me.