Hidden Treasures: How to Spot Future Leaders

Identifying and nurturing employees with leadership potential is an important part of long-term business success.


The IT industry is constantly evolving, and businesses need to be able to adapt to change in order to stay ahead of the competition—this means that it is essential to have powerful leaders in your organization. “Strong leadership creates a shared vision that aligns team members and provides a sense of purpose and direction, resulting in improved performance, productivity, and innovation,” according to Emeritus. Not only are they responsible for motivating and inspiring employees, but they also must ensure that the organization is moving in the right direction.

Once identified, it’s important to nurture these employees’ talents. This means providing them with opportunities to learn and grow, as well as giving them the responsibility to lead projects and teams. Identifying and nurturing employees with leadership potential is an important part of long-term business success.

Here are some key qualities to look for to find promising individuals among your current team and how to best utilize their talents within your company.

    1. Strong Technical Proficiency

Look for employees who not only excel in their assigned technical roles but also possess a deep understanding of industry trends, emerging technologies, and the ability to adapt swiftly to changing landscapes. These people demonstrate a passion for continuous learning, seeking out new challenges, and proactively exploring innovative solutions. Their ability to leverage their expertise to solve complex problems and guide teams will set them apart as potential leaders.

    1. Adaptability and Resilience

The technology channel demands people who can thrive in a dynamic environment. Keep an eye out for individuals who can adapt and stay resilient when facing challenges. These employees should be comfortable navigating uncertainty, embracing change, and utilizing setbacks as opportunities for growth. Future leaders must possess the ability to lead others through transitions, make informed decisions under pressure, maintain a positive outlook, and inspire colleagues to overcome obstacles.

    1. Excellent Communication and Collaboration Skills

Leadership in the IT industry extends beyond technical proficiency. Identify individuals who effectively convey complex ideas to diverse stakeholders, articulating thoughts clearly and concisely. Active listening is crucial, as future leaders must engage in meaningful discussions and be able to appreciate diverse perspectives.

These people excel at building consensus within teams, mediating conflicts, and facilitating decision-making processes while fostering a collaborative company culture that promotes knowledge-sharing and teamwork. They break down silos, encouraging cross-departmental collaboration to drive efficiency and achieve shared objectives.

Good communication skills also make it easier for other team members to articulate any current concerns, leading to a more transparent and honest work environment, according to Lotus Buckner, founder and CEO of LB Talent Solutions.

    1. Proactive Problem-Solving Ability

Seek out employees who display a take-charge approach to identifying and addressing challenges. Future leaders exhibit a mindset that goes beyond mere troubleshooting. They possess the ability to spot potential issues before they arise, anticipate future trends, and devise innovative resolutions. These individuals demonstrate initiative, critical thinking, and a strategic mindset, positioning them to navigate the complex IT ecosystem.

    1. High Emotional Intelligence and Empathy

Effective managers understand their own emotions and limitations, regulating them in high-pressure situations. By modeling self-awareness, they inspire personal growth and better decision-making. Empathy allows future leaders to understand and share others’ feelings, building strong connections and fostering a supportive work environment. Empathetic people create trust and value individual perspectives by actively listening to concerns. Strong relationships with team members of all levels create a sense of belonging and encourage collaboration.

Emotionally intelligent employees excel in conflict resolution, approaching disagreements with empathy to de-escalate tensions. They promote an inclusive culture that values diversity and leverages individual strengths, leading to increased team cohesion and creativity. Nurturing emotional intelligence and empathy in potential managers cultivates a positive work environment and drives organizational success.

    1. Continuous Learners and Mentors

Employees who actively pursue opportunities for growth, engage in professional development activities, and stay updated on emerging trends and industry best practices are promising candidates for leadership roles. These types of people demonstrate a passion for mentoring and guiding others, willingly sharing their knowledge and experiences to uplift their team. Their commitment to education and guidance will inspire a culture of new ideas and can contribute to the development of other promising individuals within the company.

Invest in Tomorrow’s Leaders

Identifying future leaders requires a holistic approach beyond superficial traits. Actively search for and mentor individuals with strong technical proficiency, adaptability, communication skills, proactive problem-solving abilities, emotional intelligence, and a commitment to continuous learning. Nurturing these employees benefits their careers and boosts organizational competitiveness.

Leaders with technical prowess can more effectively navigate the evolving IT landscape and stay ahead of trends. Adaptability enables them to guide teams through uncertainty. Effective communication builds collaboration and knowledge sharing. Proactive problem solvers anticipate challenges and devise innovative solutions. Emotional intelligence and empathy foster an inclusive work environment, enhancing team cohesion and trust. Continuous learners contribute to a culture of innovation and mentorship.

Discovering, nurturing, and investing in current employees who show these traits will create a pipeline for long-term success—for them AND your business.


Sunny Kaila is the CEO of IT By Design, the largest privately owned Master Managed Services Provider in America. He founded the company in 2003, growing it into a global entity with 700 employees serving small- and mid-sized companies across many industries. Today, it generates more than $10 million annually and has offices in India, the Philippines, and the United States.