The True Essence of a High Potential Leader

Potential. It’s a go to word for the people in organizations that have the inherent talent and capabilities to succeed. Traditional perspectives on high potentials view the concept as a personality or leadership trait. Are my high potentials motivated and driven enough to succeed? Can they grow to the next level? Do they have the intellectual horsepower to take on more? Are they quick on their feet and flexible enough to adapt to changing circumstances? Although these are important questions to answer, they miss the mark when it comes to the identification and development of high potential talent.

At Bandelli & Associates, we believe high potential is all about a person’s readiness for increased leadership responsibility and scope. It is about having an impact on the business from a personal, team, and organizational level. High potentials need to transition from doing to leading. They have to be capable of integrating complex information and drawing conclusions quickly. They have to inspire through influence without authority. They have to balance a focus on the here-and-now with an eye towards the future. They need the personal make up and character to lead at the enterprise level.

It is our philosophy that high potential talent exists within a model that looks at their readiness to take on roles of increased responsibility for the organization. This is what truly distinguishes the top players from the rest of the pack. If you want to truly develop your high potential talent, follow the three areas outline below:

  1. Personal Leadership: The real mark of a high potential leader starts with their core makeup as a individual. Do they have the internal wiring of passion, desire, and commitment to success? Do they truly understand their skills and capabilities, while being aware of their areas of development? Do they have the stamina and intellectual horsepower to process information quickly, and make decisions that will have a positive impact on the business? The answer to these questions begins the journey on expanding and increasing one’s leadership presence. It moves people from doing to leading.
  2. People Leadership: Is all about expanding one’s sphere of influence to impact the people around them. It is about being able to influence without authority. It is about creating environments where people operate from a base of shared norms, values, and beliefs. The best people leaders know how to galvanize colleagues with their passion and enthusiasm for the business. They thrive in environments where their impact can be felt on multiple levels.
  3. Organizational Leadership: The third and final phase of increased responsibility occurs at the organizational level. Can leaders move beyond their function or business unit to think and operate with an enterprise mindset? Can they translate macro economic factors into key priorities for their people to drive the business? Can they think beyond today and plan for the future? The strongest high potential leaders can operate and lead at scale. They understand the interworking of an organization and can move people to action across functions and organizational boundaries.

The development of high potentials is all about their ability to take on roles of increased leadership responsibility and scope. Make sure to focus on the three areas outlined above if you want to grow the skills and capabilities of your high potential talent.

For more information on how to develop your high potential leaders, contact Bandelli & Associates at

We look forward to working with you in developing your high potential talent for the future!