How to Identify Leaders Among Employees [And Why It Matters]

How to Identify Leaders Among Employees [And Why It Matters]

Employers can fail to identify leaders and this can be detrimental to the organization. In fact, a poll from Gallup concluded that just 18% of managers exhibited an excellent skill in managing others. 

In other words, 82% of leaders are not good with leading. The same study showed that the crisis in leadership is costing U.S. corporations $550 billion per year. Leaders can make or break an organization. It just depends on how they are.

It’s not too difficult to tell what a bad leader can do to a business. Leaders are crucial in any organization because they are the most important players in making any organization survive and grow. 

They have the vision and the drive to crystalize plans. Moreover, they also have influence over others to work hard and stay committed. However, the best employees are not always the best leaders. 

Workers can be the best at their work but it doesn’t mean that they are going to be excellent leaders. This is why knowing how to identify leaders among employees is essential. Here’s how you can identify leaders.

The Best Employee Doesn’t Mean Good Leader

There are different reasons why employees are appointed a leadership position. One is because they may have been excellent or the best at their job. But upon taking up the leadership role, the performance of the ex-best employee and coworkers can decline. 

This affects the revenue of the company. This happens because being excellent at employee work is different from being a leader. Work is work and leadership is a different subject. 

According to Forbes:

One part of the problem is that the processes that help determine and shape leaders often produce people who behave differently from what most employees desire. Managers are mostly promoted into their roles based on tenure or previous manager roles – with little account for whether they possess the humanistic skills and qualities of good leadership.”

It’s important to get this around so that you won’t make a mistake of promoting a talented employee who is not fit to lead to be a manager.

These are the characteristics of potential good leader:

Having a High Emotional Intelligence

Gallup estimates that managers make up at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across all types of business units. This means that leaders are a huge factor when it comes to employee engagement.

This is because leaders can be the biggest determinant to the company culture. They help shape company culture through:

  • Positive and generous communication
  • Coaching and developing others

Leadership requires good emotional intelligence because leadership is all about the skill to influence self and others. Emotional intelligence enables one to not be driven by emotions but instead be excellent at understanding it.

By understanding emotions, one can transform a bad scenario into a good one, a rude employee into an empathetic one, an unmotivated employee to a motivated one, a bad or average company culture into a great one. 

According to Harvard Business Review, emotional intelligence is a key leadership skill. The psychologist Daniel Goleman also mentioned in his 1998 HBR article, “What Makes a Leader”, “It’s not that IQ and technical skills are irrelevant. They do matter but… they are entry-level requirements for executive positions”. 

He goes on and states, “My research, along with other recent studies, clearly shows that emotional intelligence is the sine qua non of leadership. Without it, a person can have the best training in the world, an incisive, analytical mind, and an endless supply of smart ideas, but he still won’t make a great leader.”

To identify a good leader is to see beyond work performance. You need to look for the aptitude, ability to connect to other people, willingness to grow, engagement level and overall potential.

Don’t make the mistake of choosing those that can’t work well with others just because they are excellent with their job. Identify leaders among employees based on their emotional intelligence. 

They Have Good Communication Skills

A good leader is someone who can bring out the best in someone through positive communication. They know the magic and weight of words and know how to apply them in ways that creates a positive result.

It is by no means being manipulative. It is being persuasive through being genuine in being positive, connected and interested in others. Their words and actions are congruent, therefore people perceive them as individuals that can be trusted.

Identify leaders among employees by observing how they communicate. Leaders help improve engagement by boosting morale through motivating and inspiring others. They do this trough: 

  • Recognizing and appreciating hard work of others
  • Being solution-oriented and not focusing on problems
  • Being honest in the most constructive manner
  • Greeting employees
  • Giving compliments
  • Making everyone move in a way that they like
  • Celebrating the success of others
  • Listening to the inputs of employees

Leaders that transform employees into highly-engaged workers create a huge impact to the success of the business and to the well-being of everyone. Here are the statistics:

  1. According to Gallup, high-engaged workforce are 21% more profitable.
  2. From the book “Corporate Culture and Performance”, a study was conducted wherein it was found out that a good company culture can increase revenue by up to 682%.
  3. A study by Psychometrics concluded that 58% of employees say employee recognition is how leaders can improve employee engagement.
  4. According to socialcast, 69% of employees would work harder if they felt they were better appreciated by their managers. 
  5. According to a study by Deloitte, organizations with employee recognition programs have a 31% less voluntary turnover.
  6. According to Cicero Group, 50% of employees believe that being thanked by their manager will improve their trust and relationship with their seniors.

If someone great at their job but poor in communication is turned into a leader, it can result to low performance or decrease in productivity. Employees don’t stay for the money, they stay because of good leadership and a positive company culture. Identify leaders through their skills in communication. 

  • According to Hays, 43% of employees who are looking for a new job had company culture for their main reason.
  • A study conducted by Businessolver found that a whopping 92% of employees would be more likely to stay at their jobs if their manager would be more empathetic.
  • According to Lifeworks, 76% of employees who don’t feel appreciated or valued at work are looking for new job opportunities.

Leadership is more than just a position but is a skill of influence. The job of leaders is to motivate and inspire employees. If you’re on the search for new leaders, keep in mind what you learned from this article. 

Remember, leaders can make or break an organization. When you try to identify leaders among employees, choose those that can grow your company. Choose those with excellent emotional intelligence and good communication skills.