We talk about employee retention when wanting to keep valuable assets in-house. But if we go a step further, keeping the best employees, only works when the organization can provide them an avenue for advancement and leadership opportunities. So how can management identify future leaders?

Find individuals who believe in the mission of the company. People want to believe in and be passionate about a cause and purpose. You want an advocate for the company. Someone who has bought in and wants to run all the way. When others can see that someone is living true to their principles it’ll be easier for others to buy into the mission as well.

Look for the people who Inspire others. It’s hard to want to work with or for someone who is condescending, domineering, and inflexible. Look for people who collaborate, can help teach and are teachable, and encourage others to keep building their skills and talents.

Look for potential. While leadership needs a degree of skill and proficiency, this only goes so far. We need to look at the employee’s aptitude, desire to grow, and potential for improvement. Some people will be able to do the job well, but won’t be cut out for leadership responsibilities and that’s okay. Some people are content to follow. So look at the skill as well as their ability to take on more responsibilities and discuss their path in annual reviews. Are they content to stay at their level or are they hungry for advancement opportunities.

Leaders are accountable. No one wants to hear flimsy excuses and reasons why something failed. When someone back peddles and avoids blame, this isn’t the person you want in charge. Instead, leaders can admit their failures, will hold themselves accountable to their standards, as well as the standard of others.

Multi-tasking ability. Now this doesn’t mean someone who can divert their attention to simultaneous projects at one time, but instead someone who can handle additional responsibilities. Offer someone greater responsibility to complete a project and give them the opportunity to rise to the occasion while still keeping the same standard of work. Leaders will have multimple projects happening at the same time. Can the individual manage their time and schedule without causing work to fall through the cracks?

High Emotional intelligence. People with emotional intelligence are able to realize and regulate their emotions. They’re able to control their reactions when stressed or frustrated. They’re able to recognize the feelings of others, resolve conflict respectfully, and receive feedback and criticism.

Excellent communicators. Leaders are able to communicate well. They demonstrate strong interpersonal skills, are active listeners, and collaborate well with others. Look for a person who has the ability to explain ideas in a clear and concise manner; somebody who deals with specifics and who has the ability to listen.

If you can find an individual with one ore many of these qualities, consider them as potential future leaders for the company and give them a shot to rise to the occasion.