Why hire from the outside? Hiring from within your company is more than just a simple move that saves HR mounds of hiring paperwork; it’s a source of motivation for current employees. When you grow your people, you grow great leaders who remain loyal to your brand, have been trained effectively, and garner productivity from others using their existing clout or influence. So, how do you spot future leaders today and grow them for tomorrow?

#1: Look for traits shared by successful managers 

Identify those who share traits with already successful managers. Great existing leaders know when to shift from manager to coach while valuing their people and building their strengths congruently;  emerging leaders who have the ability to cultivate skills during their professional development are likely to be highly principled, with values and aspirations that go beyond a monthly paycheck.  

*Take notice of employees who have high emotional intelligence (EQ), clear communication skills, and persuasive ability to motivate others using nothing but words of inspiration. 

#2: Spot red flags waved by toxic management 

Ethically and professionally speaking, toxic behavior is a big no-no in the workplace that surprisingly goes unnoticed by many offices. Toxic behavior, especially by a manager, can really bring the vibe down, as well as employee morale. In fact, most employees leave their company because of poor management, regardless of how great company perks or culture are. Toxic leaders often intimidate subordinates or their lateral peers on a consistent basis. Workplaces trying to mitigate or prevent toxicity should instate a zero-tolerance policy that proposes consequences for those reported. 

*Look for characteristics like narcissism, placing reputation and individual performance above all, poor communicators, and for those who are quick to blame and slow to give credit. 

#3: Hold development programs for top performers

More and more companies are offering development programs to their new hires early on to teach them skills that will later help them advance in their careers. These programs can include career-specific training or personal development activities such as time management or computer software training. Development programs grow tomorrow’s leaders but also help current management get to know them while setting career goals accordingly. 

*Assess employee strengths and weaknesses in these programs, while including and enhancing heightened collaboration and employee commitment within the company. 

#4: Recognize those high potential employees

Some employees will display leadership potential early on, so keep your eye on them. Those who exhibit a rare, but valuable combination of both personality traits and peak performance are most likely to excel as a leader when the time comes. There are certain criteria for leadership positions that can be identified even for an employee in an entry-level role that includes aspiration for leadership, autonomy, flexibility, and the capacity for fast-paced work settings. 

*Flag those who are strong decision-makers and act accordingly, are capable of supervising groups, met goals and objectives swiftly, and show entrepreneurial spirit. 

Lean on your HR departments for succession planning, thorough performance reviews, and feedback, and mediating discussions with toxic employees or managers. HR professionals and existing management teams should always be on the lookout for employees who genuinely care about what they do and put their best foot forward each morning when they clock in. Those who utilize peak performance capability and strong networking skills are your go-to for tomorrow’s leaders, and you’ll be glad you grew them instead of hiring from the outside. 


from Stephanie Stevens

Stephanie is Content Marketer at Hibob. She has a background in Clinical Psychology and Crisis Management, and enjoys abstract painting and watching horror films in her spare time. She believes that people can connect with themselves, their peers, and the world around them through creative writing, helping them foster a deeper sense of self and their life goals in the process.