How to Develop Potential Leaders Leadership

Top 5 Qualities and Skills You Should Look for in Potential Leaders

In organizations, people will always come and go. Therefore, to remain viable, an organization must develop a pipeline of potential leaders.

John Maxwell describes the importance of looking for potential leaders in his book, Developing the Leaders Around You, when he writes, “There is something much more important and scarce than ability: It is the ability to recognize ability. One of the primary responsibilities of a successful leader is to identify potential leaders. It’s not always an easy job, but it is critical.”[ref]John Maxwell, Developing the Leaders Around You: How to Help Others Reach Their Full Potential (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 37. [/ref] 

Top 5 Qualities and Skills You Should Look for in Potential Leaders

Photo Credit: Robert Sullivan

To develop this pipeline, one must identify potential leaders with both prerequisite qualities and prerequisite skills.


Some people are happy with their current job responsibilities and do not want to stretch into new roles. This means that some people will not want to be developed into leaders. Maxwell’s summary is relevant:

“Nurture all of your people, equip many. But develop only a few—the few who are ready and willing.”[ref]Ibid.[/ref]

Below are descriptions of the prerequisite qualities for potential leaders that should not just be nurtured or equipped, but also developed.

Good Character