Ten Signs of an Emerging Leader

If you serve in any kind of leadership role, you have the incredible responsibility and opportunity to develop emerging leaders. Doing so begins with identifying emerging leaders. The question is “how?” Here’s 10 signs to be on the lookout for:

1. They Have Influence – This one’s pretty obvious. If people are following, pay attention. Others see something in the young leader that makes them want to follow.

2. They Take Initiative – This is a very crucial sign of potential leadership. If an individual takes initiative, it demonstrates their ability to lead themselves. Leading self opens the door to leading others.

3. They Possess Forward-Thinking Abilities – When somebody can think with innovation and creativity, they may have the ability to move things in the right direction. They are not confined to the world as they know it but, instead, can envision better ways to get the job done.

4. Their Spiritual Giftedness Indicates or Assumes Leadership – Leadership is a spiritual gift. However, it is not the only spiritual gift that requires the ability to lead. Consider giving a young leader a spiritual gift assessment and see what comes to the top. They may have the gift of leadership. Or, they may have a gift that assumes a position of leadership–such as pastor, teacher, apostle, administration, etc.

5. They Possess Strong People Skills – The ability to work well with people will naturally increase a person’s influence. When you see solid people skills, you may see an emerging leader.

6. They Have the Ability to Motivate and Mobilize Others – Anybody can see a need. People with initiative see the need and do something about. But people with the ability to motivate and mobilize see a need and then inspire others to join them in meeting the need. It’s a natural progression toward higher capacity leadership.

7. They are Problem Solvers – Emerging leaders don’t whine about the way things are, but rather, wrap their heads around a problem and work diligently to find the right solution. The fastest way to gain influence is to solve problems. Solving problems makes life better for people which in turn increases the influence of the person that solved the problem.

8. They are Growing as a Disciple – Followers of Christ are committed to lifelong growth. And as disciples prove faithful in the small things, God tends to elevate their responsibilities–often in areas of leadership. This was true in my life. My leadership journey evolved from faithfulness in simple volunteer opportunities to increasing levels of organizational leadership.

9. They are Teachable – When a young leader is teachable, it reveals their desire to improve, grow, and be excellent in all they do. Teachability leads to excellence and excellence makes people take notice. It’s the excellent that often lead in any given field or industry.

10. They Model Servant-Leadership – Servant leaders lead by serving and serve by leading. When you see a potential young leader focused first on serving, leadership opportunities may follow. This characteristic builds on the idea of “growing as a disciple.”

I am not suggesting that emerging leaders must possess all ten characteristics before they can be considered for leadership. After all, potential must be developed. Our job as leaders is to spot the potential and then proactively develop it.

Question: Which of these qualities do you see in the young generation around you? Why not invest in these emerging leaders and help them realize the seed God has planted within them.