6 indicators of High Potential – and how to identify them

Posted on February 28, 2014 at 10:48 AM

high potentialFor some line managers spotting those in the team who have the potential to progress and take on a larger role, can be tricky.  They need to know what makes for success and then how to identify this amongst their people – and ideally applying a tool they are already making use of.

Each organisation is different – and what makes for success needs consideration.  But in our experience, there are a number of attributes which tend to predict success in higher-level roles – and we’ve drawn on our experience and identified six of the most common ‘HiPo’ indicators.

Capacity for learning – being able to learn from own mistakes, actively seeking feedback and using it constructively to inform future performance, reflecting on own behaviour to learn lessons for the future, being a quick learner and able to learn in a number of different ways

Resilience – being able to recover quickly from setbacks, coping with high pressure and demands, finding ways around obstacles; perseverance in the face of adversity.

Strategic thinking – longer-term thinking, looking outside the organisation for opportunities, seeing patterns, trends, themes and relationships, being able to manage ambiguity and deal with increasingly complex issues, problems, timescales and information, systems thinking, seeing things from an organisational perspective.

Flexibility – being able to adapt communication, influencing, leadership and interpersonal style to suit the demands of the situation and the other people involved, managing change, shifting one’s approach in response to new priorities.

Emotional intelligence – being able to accurately recognise and manage one’s own emotional states, recognising and understanding emotional responses in others, using this understanding to increase interpersonal effectiveness.

Drive and motivation – being a ‘self-starter’, actively seeking out opportunities to learn and stretch oneself, showing a drive to make a difference, actively managing and planning a career, setting stretching personal goals.

Of course, the key part of this is then to identify those of your people with these attributes.  We’ve taken these further – and built the capability of ‘marking’ these attributes in our Talent 360® tool to ‘flag’ some of the indicators within a 360 assessment as ‘high potential markers’ – helping HR and the line manager to identify these people.

Read more about how to spot high potential and future leaders, using 360 degree feedback. 

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