Finding hidden leaders….

February, 2017
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For many organisations, the search for their next generation of business leaders represents one of their biggest headaches. Most, suggest McKinsey, will rely on their development programs and their internal high fliers, while the remainder may, despite the costs and potential risks, choose also to look outside their organisations to fill key roles.

Regrettably, McKinsey argues, far fewer will systematically scan for the hidden talent that often lurks unnoticed within their own corporate ranks! Sometimes those overlooked may have unconventional backgrounds, may be reluctant to put themselves forward, or may even have steered clear of the standard development path. Regardless of the cause,  it’s a wasted opportunity when good leaders are overlooked, and it can leave individuals feeling alienated and demotivated.

In their short paper, authors Lane, Larmaraud and Yueh explore the causes of the hidden-leader problem and propose a few simple techniques to address it. Proactive efforts, they assert, are the key to identify promising candidates for promotion who are not on the list of usual suspects – think “hunting” as opposed to “harvesting”.

We have included their piece here because regardless of the size of an organisation, the practical recommendations and real-world examples they share can be universally applied. Drawing inspiration, the authors close with thoughts from a global head of organisational development and talent at a world leading pharmaceutical company who advised, “We have increasingly been thinking about how to tap into our hidden leaders so as to unleash the full potential of the organization in a more systematic way.”

Click here to download the full article McKinsey Quarterly – Finding hidden leaders 2017

Reproduced with permission – McKinsey & Company 2017