We like to believe that everybody has potential. And I would subscribe to that. But let’s face it: not everybody has true leadership potential.
Whilst there is no single “ideal” leadership style, and whilst we should appreciate diversity in terms of different personalities of leaders, future leadership performance may be more predictable than you would have thought.
As Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic points out in the article below, certain traits such as adjustment, sociability, ambition, curiosity, and integrity are key for leadership emergence and effectiveness. And: they can be measured (!) using psychological tools, and thus predict future leadership performance of your “high potential” managers.
Part of the problem is that many widely held beliefs about leadership are incongruent with the scientific evidence. As Mark Twain allegedly noted, “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” For example, it is quite common for people to believe that leadership is largely dependent on the situation, that it’s hard to predict whether someone will be a good (or bad) leader, and that any person can be a leader. In reality, some people have a much higher probability of becoming leaders, regardless of the context, and this probability can be precisely quantified with robust psychological tools.