10 Tricks to Identifying Potential New Leaders

The mark of a good leader is his or her ability to identify and nurture new leaders. Find out what to look for in a candidate.

One of the most important tasks of a leader is to identify potential new leaders. If a church or organization is to grow, finding new leaders is critical. Equally vital is the quality of leaders being discovered. Good leaders learn to look for qualities in people that are conducive to good leadership. 

But, where do you find these people who can be future leaders? I find it helps to look for certain qualities that all good leaders need, or qualities that, consistently over time, seem to make good leaders.

Here are 10 valuable traits to look for when looking for new leaders:

1. Concern/love for others.

You can’t lead people effectively if you don’t genuinely love people. I’ve seen people in positions who have great power, but they don’t appear to love others. These leaders often produce followers well, but they fall short of reproducing leaders.

2. Not a complainer.

Candidly speaking, leadership encounters complainers regardless of what we do. I certainly don’t want to add complainers to my team of leaders. A positive attitude will get my attention every time.

3. Teachable and open to suggestions.

A person who thinks they have all the answers will repel other leaders. People with no desire to keep learning rarely find their place on my team of leaders.

4. Excellence in following.

This is a biggie for me. I try to follow people I lead, because there are times they know more than I do. Many times. Someone who isn’t willing to follow is seldom ready to lead.

5. Reliability.

Leadership is about trust, and trust is developed over time and consistency by doing what you said you would do. I look for people with that quality.

6. Interest.

The people with a burning passion for the church or organization often make great leaders. You can train someone to lead others, but you can’t easily train them to have interest.

7. Good character.

Character counts. Not perfection. Not flawless. But, good character is necessary to be trusted on a team. Integrity. Honesty. A humble desire to always be improving as a person. That kind of character.

8. Potential.

God always saw potential in others they themselves couldn’t see. I try to have eyes to see that in others.

9. Confidence.

Leaders have to move forward when others are ready to retreat. That takes confidence. Not pride, but a genuine willingness to lead through the hard times; to do what others aren’t willing to do.

10. People skills.

This goes without saying, but you can’t lead people if you can’t communicate with people. You don’t have to be the life of the party (I’m a strong introvert), but you do have to be able to engage people and make them feel a part of things.

Do you have other traits you look for in recruiting leaders?

Ron Edmondson
Ron Edmondson is a pastor and church leader passionate about planting churches, helping established churches thrive, and assisting pastors and those in ministry think through leadership, strategy and life. Ron has over 20 years business experience, mostly as a self-employed business owner, and he's been helping church grow vocationally for over 10 years.