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Finding the leader within

Twenty years ago HR focused on finding leaders, not making them, but when it comes to the future of your company it's vital that you not only identify those with leadership qualities, but give them the skills with which to lead.

Rotman School of Management Vice Dean Jim Fisher talked to HRM Online about how to introduce processes that identify junior leaders, and how to take them to the next step - and it's not about listening for the loudest voices.

Video transcript below:

Caitlin Nobes, HRM Online
Caitlin Nobes:
 What’s the best way to avoid promoting beyond potential?  Find out how to find and develop your next leader.  I’m Caitlin Nobes, you are watching HRM TV.
Until about 10 years ago, it was believed that leaders were born not made.  And there wasn’t a lot we could do to improve our natural ability.  It’s a simplistic model that HR has thankfully outgrown.  

Jim Fisher, Rotman School of Management
Jim Fisher:
 And I think what we believe now and I think what we know is that leadership is more about mechanics and skills and that’s all very teachable.  What that really kind of leads you into is this idea that the best way to train leaders is to give people very early and often an opportunity to lead in some kind of situation.

Caitlin Nobes:  While you can test for traits, it seems someone take on a leadership role that will really show you their potential.  Fisher says if you want to test your junior staff, give them the opportunity to lead a team event or project.  

Jim Fisher:  Anything where they have to get a group of people to work together and just observe how they do and then talk to people who are led and see whether in fact they found this person’s leadership to be effective.  It’s just a better way of doing it than trying to identify some sort of characteristics which usually ends up focusing on the people who are natural extroverts and seem to be [perennial] speech makers, people who draw attention to themselves but need not actually be leaders.

Caitlin Nobes:  It’s easy to think that someone who takes over the conversation or who says the most will be a good leader.  But that’s a great way to promote beyond abilities.  For more on leadership see the links below.  I’m Caitlin Nobes, thanks for watching HRM TV.

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