Business Owners and Execs – Need more leaders?

5 Ways to Get Talent On-Hand to Step Up to Leadership

Bottom line up front:Leadership Talent Potential

  1. Recognize what stops people from applying for promotion
  2. Sponsor high potentials
  3. Be real – but relatable
  4. Support “growth mindset”
  5. Ditch that “impossible dream” job description.


As “The Employee Performance Optimizer,” I’m often asked by business owners and execs for help in developing high potentials. A frequently asked question is “How do I fill future leadership positions?”

Your most cost effective, time sensitive answer is: Start from where you are right now. Cultivate the talent you have on hand, and give them the support they need to move up into leadership positions in your company.

Here are 5 ways to get your talent on-hand to step up to the challenge of leadership.

  1. Recognize what stops people from applying for promotion. Ever heard of the “imposter syndrome”? It’s when you feel your achievements are undeserved and that others will one day realize you’re a fraud.
    According to the International Journal of Behavioral Science, 70% of people feel this way!
    It’s going to be hard for you to tap into your current talent pool if 70% of your employees feel that a promotion is way over their heads.
    Recognize this very human response when you’re developing your employees and discuss it frankly.
    This way, when your employees experience it, they will be able to recognize it for what it is — temporary self-doubt, and will be better equipped to move through it.
  2. Sponsor high potentials. Next week, I’ll be speaking at a Women’s Leadership conference on the topic of mentorship and coaching. While both are powerful sponsorship takes your support a quantum leap forward.
    Sure, make sure you coach your employees, and even get an outside coach for them, if this is something outside your wheelhouse or isn’t possible owing to time constraints.
    But go even further and be sure to sponsor your high potentials.
    Sponsorship goes well beyond mentoring.
    When you sponsor protégés, you introduce them to key movers and shakers, vouch for them in the inner circle, and pave the way for them to get stretch assignments.
  3. Be real but relatable. Brene Brown delivered one of the most watched Ted Talks and the topic was on vulnerability. Who knew it was such a captivating concept?!
    Yet, the truth is, we like real people, who have real struggles and insecurities.
    When you want to foster the growth of the next generation of leaders, let them know how you got beyond your own self-doubt to take on those next-level stretch assignments.
    When you share your self-doubts and perhaps even the fact that you still feel a twinge of doubt when you take the next risk, and that’s OK, you make yourself relatable.
    Let your people know that you can relate to feeling uncertain about taking on new responsibility.
  4. Support “growth mindset.”
    According to psychologist Carol Dweck, people with a “growth mindset” want to be challenged and persevere when challenged.
    On the other hand, those with a “fixed mindset” give up when challenged and believe they are either good at something or they are not.
    Let the people you lead know how you see challenges, the mistakes you made, and how you learned and moved beyond them.
    One of the reasons more of your employees aren’t going for promotion, is they fear challenge, and feel they will make career-ending mistakes if they fail. It’s important for you as a leader to be clear about how your philosophy on mistakes and leveraging them as growth opportunities.
    Mistakes are (almost always) survivable.
  5. Ditch that “impossible dream” job description.
    Go back and read over what kind of person you’re looking for if you’ve had a job description written up.
    Are attitudes more important that a technical skill that will be obsolete next week anyway?
    Your “ideal candidate” narrative might be talking your best candidates right out of even trying to get the position.
    com reported that men will apply for a position when they have 60% of the qualifications. Women are likely to wait until they meet 100% of requirements.
    Write candidate descriptions carefully and focus on only the few requirements that are deal breakers.

Developing leaders from within saves time and money, writes Brian Scudamore, in And, he continues, “Companies known for developing and empowering their people” have staying power.

Ready to save time and money by developing leaders from your among your current employees? I can help. I’m the Employee Performance Optimizer. I help businesses be more profitable by helping their employees be more successful.

Reach, or 719.291.0366.

Let’s chat about how I can help you create a culture where people are eager and able to rise up in leadership







Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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