Most of our focus is shining a light on the underrated leaders in their industry who might not get as much attention as they deserve. These people have an immense amount of knowledge to share, but often don’t get the chance to do so.

However, we want to use this post as an opportunity to look at things from the other side. It can sometimes be difficult to recognize talent within your own organization, and even harder to find the right place where they can thrive.

Here are some tips you can use to accomplish this:

Start With The Obvious

The initial eye test can be a great way to get an idea of who might be a rising talent in your organization. If there’s someone who always seems to knock it out of the park and gets everything done on time, that’s a fantastic place to start.

These are the basic metrics you can use to quickly begin identifying the solid workers. The great thing is you’ll typically be doing this naturally if you’re in a management position, and the hidden leaders will be within this group as well.

They Agree & Disagree Well

This is the sign of someone who knows what they’re talking about and can help the whole team perform better. It’s far too common that people get defensive or upset when they disagree, and it stalls progress.

Someone knows their stuff, is willing to disagree, and presents their reasoning in a way that doesn’t upset anyone should jump to the top of your list. This is a skill that not many people have and it requires a mix of competence and confidence to pull off.

On the other side, someone who can agree well is valuable as well. Quite often this will overlap with the skill of disagreeing.

People that blindly agree with everything that their superiors propose can’t be trusted to add new value. They might make meetings comfortable and easy, but they’re essentially useless when it comes to the process of generating new ideas.

This sort of environment is what slowly kills organizations from the inside out. You want people who you can trust, and when they agree with you that means it’s because you’re on the right track.

They’re Able To Say “I Don’t Know”

This might be the most important thing on the list. We’re not kidding.

So many people are freaked out about the possibility of being perceived as incompetent in the workplace, and have been trained to pretend they know everything from their school days.

This is a problem.

All this leads to is a large number of people in almost every organization who habitually give uninformed answers under the false pretense that they know what they’re talking about. Most of the time other employees will assume that they do, and these bad ideas spread like wildfire.

When you talk with someone about challenging problems or goals you’re trying to meet, pay attention to what they say. Chances are something you’re working on will be a first to both of you (if it’s truly a challenge). This will leave plenty of opportunities or this rare trait to showcase itself.

Sometimes if it’s someone fresh out of school you might be able to encourage them to leave this bad habit behind (word this gently). These are bad habits that we’re taught from a young age that end up costing us later on. You might have a gem on your team who just needs a little guidance!

They Have Their Ego In Check

The best talent that you want to keep around will have an ego that’s under control. This makes working together easy, which is what it’s all about.

We’ve all worked with someone who thinks they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Sometimes it’s a coworker in the trenches, sometimes it’s the CEO.

No matter the situation, it’s a pain to deal with. Spend your time looking to surround yourself with people who are masters of their ego, and you’ll be happy you did it.

They’re Hungry

When we say hungry we’re not talking about people who want to work 100% of their waking moments and have no work/life balance. That’s the opposite of who you should be looking for.

We’re talking about the individuals who are naturally interested in improving and testing new ideas. If something doesn’t work that’s alright, but want to learn why. Then test something new.

The general mindset of “why not find a way to do this better?” is something that’s led to plenty of amazing breakthroughs in various organizations. It’s effective and contagious. If you give people with this mindset more responsibility and a team to manage, that team will perform well.

We hope this list of traits will help you better identify the kind of industry leaders that might be hidden within your current organization. Every place has them, and it’s on you to champion their success.