John Maxwell said, “A potential leader is the one who would be able to mentally sustain your organization’s vision if you quit thinking for the next month.” I know one of the challenges older leaders often confront is how to discover potential leaders around them. Potential leaders are sometimes around us but we don’t discover them. Bill Bradley says, “Leadership is unlocking people’s potential to become better.” Before we can unlock people’s potential, the truth is that they must be discovered. If you desire to discover leadership potential in you or in other people around you, here are four basic traits to look “in” for…

1. Commitment to Character Development. This is the first trait to look for in a potential leader. People who are committed to developing values – honesty, discipline, integrity, punctuality, humility, prudence and faithfulness are potential leaders. Potential leaders are not mistakes free, in fact they commit lots of them but are never character flawed. They are always working on their character development.

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters”

– Albert Einstein

2. Commitment to Mental Development. Potential leaders are always willing to learn and to know more. They are never satisfied with shallow knowledge. They are teachable. They seek wisdom from those who are leading them. They always desire to grow in the knowledge of the people, their work and their organization.

3. Commitment to Relational Development. Those who can lead well are those who can relate well. Potential leaders have good relational attitude. They are comfortable working with other people around them to get things done. They believe in the value of people working together for mutual accomplishment. Potential leaders are committed to their relationships even outside their work environment.

4. Commitment to Spiritual Development. This ought to come first, but I deliberately make it my last point because of its importance. I agree that many people do not believe that faith is key to leadership effectiveness. This is not a post to talk about people’s belief and how it affects their leadership effectiveness. But the truth is: the three points discussed earlier have their foundation in spiritual development of a potential leader. The Bible teaches character development, mental development and relational development ( 2 Peter 1:5-7, Luke 2:52, Ephesians 4:1-6). A potential leader is someone committed to spiritual development.

“Rewards await you if you stay steadfast in your faith.”

– Joel Osteen

So, whenever you are looking for traits of a potential leader – whether in you or others, don’t forget to look “in” for…

1. Commitment to Character Development

2. Commitment to Mental Development

3. Commitment to Relational Development

4. Commitment to Spiritual Development


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