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High Potential Employee

Businesspeople Around Boardroom Table Applaud Presentation

The war for talent is heating up globally. Talent, especially in emerging economies, is scarce, expensive, and hard to retain. It is no surprise then that high potential employees are in high demand.

High potential employees constitute approx. 3-5% of the top level in every organization and receive special training and developmental opportunities. Plus they form an inevitable part of succession planning. So what is it that makes these employees so sought after?

1. A well-etched personal mission statement – High potential individuals possess remarkable clarity about their life purpose and goals. For example, Oprah Winfrey’s mission statement is “To be a teacher and to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.”

2. Thrive on change – Uncertainty and ambiguity remain the number one challenge of our times. High potential individuals are highly adaptable to this and prepare both themselves and the organization for future roles. This is because they see the world in terms of possibilities. And change often presents the biggest opportunities for growth.

3. Avid learners – They are adept at quickly assembling and interpreting information and drawing insights to create innovative work ideas. They focus on constantly acquiring or upgrading their skills, and are keen to go beyond their immediate roles to create value that helps the entire organization.

4. Powerful communicators – High potential individuals have both strong written and spoken communication skills. They are adept at articulating their observations, needs, suggestions and have the ability to persuade and inspire different groups of people. They also pay close attention to their thoughts, choosing to ignore disempowering or negative thoughts and focusing on what strengthens and supports them.

5. Inclusive – High potential leaders make people a part of their success. As a result, they are generally liked and respected. They are usually good at drawing out talent and developing talent in the organization. Being high-performance workers themselves, they believe in their ability and usually expect the same in others. Hence they are good at coaching others as well.

6. Deep expertise and business acumen – Being curious and open to learning, they gain a deep understanding of how the business works and the technical issues that are fundamental to success.

7. Role models – They usually display a high level of integrity and inspire the team with their positive approach and consistent performance.

8. Willingness to innovate and take risks – They are usually led by their passion for the subject, including a desire to learn and excel, rather than pure financial incentives. Hence they are not scared to take risks and try out new ideas.

9.  High degree of self-awareness – High-performance employees are usually more inner-directed. They spend considerable time in identifying and honing their skills as well as working on their weaknesses. They view themselves as a work in progress and as such welcome feedback on how they can improve. They are also sensitive to the environment around them and know how best to deal with others in challenging situations.

10. Good at developing key relationships and networking – They know how to engage and network with diverse groups of people with a focus on collaboration rather than manipulation. They seek out ideas, opinions, and support from people and publicly acknowledge their contribution.

11. Confident yet humble – While they are confident about their skills, they are not arrogant or dismissive of others. They look at the larger picture and focus on the greater purpose rather than on short-term posturing or manipulation tactics to pull down others.

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