When you think of leaders in your organization, most likely there are some names and faces that come to mind. Perhaps its people that are experts in their fields such as company products and services, Microsoft Office or Enterprise Content Management. These names appear in company presentations, proposals and industry trade shows.
In many organizations these, these leaders only represent a small population of the experts in any particular field. Why? Some experts just don’t get the visibility, some are content doing their piece of the work and remaining low key and some are held back due to politics (power struggles and weak leadership) within the organization – many large organizations suppress talent.
Here are some ways to spot thought leaders within your organization:
- Who seems to be a consistent member of topic discussions? Who makes it his/her business to be at some of the meetings and participate in some of the online chats?
- Who is taking on a leadership role in term of shaping the topics, inviting additional members into the group, and solving problems that arise?
- Who seems to have the most knowledge or expertise? Who is the individual everyone else turns to when a problem arises or when they become stuck?
- Who seems to be taking the original topic and running with it? Who is exploring the topic in new or provocative ways? Who is taking the topic to a higher level?
- Who is the spokesperson talking about the topic to those outside the community consistently and bringing the actionable ideas to management, ensuring they are executed?
In the end it’s up to the management team to define a strategy, support these leaders and nurture their development for the benefit of the organization.