How to Help Superstar Employees Fulfill Their Potential | Harvard Business Review

Talent Management

I recently shared an article by Allan Church on identifying and assessing leadership potential. The article pointed to a strong body of research showing there are three critical dimensions on which leadership potential criteria are based: 1) Foundational (personality characteristics future leaders must have, derailers to avoid, and “smarts” needed), 2) Growth (indicators of learning orientation, capability for growth, and the drive and energy required at more senior levels), and 3) Career (standard leadership competencies and key functional skills required at higher levels of leadership). As organizations look to develop those with leadership potential, this HBR article shares findings from a research study on the leadership challenges and development opportunities facing high-potential employees. Based on an analysis of over 3,000 applications to Harvard Business School’s High Potentials Leadership Program over a nearly 20-year period, the findings show that high-potentials identified five consistent leadership challenges — leading teams, leading change, leadership style, leadership style, leading at scale, and driving business results. The sponsors of these high potentials identified six areas of development — strategic management, emotional intelligence, communication, leading at scale, leading teams, and relationship management. The collective insights from this study can help inform strategies for accelerating the development of an organization’s future leaders.