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How to Identify Future Leaders

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

As the leader of the Free World, I believe that we must provide critical leadership on the ethical parameters, and the ethical constraints that this research requires.  Ron Kind

Every meeting supplies an opportunity to experience critical essential things about the attendees. Here is what to watch for:

> Is it planned?

Influential leaders always begin with clearly defined goals and then prepare plans for achieving them. They dare to set a direction and change as added information becomes available. They communicate honestly, knowing that people perform at their best when they know what is expected. Thus, did the person who called this meeting plan an agenda before the appointment? Did the schedule tell you everything you needed to know to work effectively in the forum? If so, this serves as a positive sign of effective leadership planning.

> Is it efficient?

A meeting is a culminating step in a more extensive process. It begins by setting goals and preparing a plan. Then the chairperson should have contacted key participants to inform them of their roles in the meeting, told everyone how to prepare for the meeting, and alerted people who may be asked to accept responsibility for action items. This work before the meeting assures that the appointment will progress smoothly, efficiently, and effectively. So, how is the meeting going? Is there evidence of this diligence?

> Is it logical?

Pay attention to what people say during a meeting. Do their ideas contribute toward achieving the goals? If so, this shows that they are working as part of a team to help find solutions. Do their ideas build upon what others just said? If so, this indicates that they are paying attention to the dialogue. Do their ideas prove originality, creativity, and knowledge? If so, this shows they are working hard to add value. Influential leaders have strong analytical thinking skills.

> Is it helpful?

Evaluate the comments and behavior during a meeting. Are the participants working to support each other? Are people contributing to the safe environment essential for open creative thinking? Are people adding high-value contributions (instead of stories or jokes that distract everyone)? Chronic unproductive behavior betrays either fear, a lack of practical work skills, or misunderstood expectations. People who perform poorly in meetings may need constructive coaching. 

> Is it controlled?

Leadership involves more than watching people talk. Thus, see the dynamics of the meeting process. Is the chairperson leading everybody through methodical steps that take them to a result? Is the meeting being conducted so that the participants feel it is a fair process? Is the chairperson helping others perform at their best so that the group can produce an outstanding result?

Someone who excels in the above areas should be considered for leadership positions. This explains why most executives believe in the ability to lead meetings when selecting future leaders.

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