[Infographic] 12 Characteristics of High Potential Employees

Posted by Rick Yvanovich

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In our previous article, we have discussed three critical losses that companies will suffer when high potential employees quit. These high potentials (HIPOs) are the lifeline of the organisation, the future leaders that you don't want to ignore.  

Inaccurately identifying them also has the same detrimental effect. However, how can managers select one high potential individual from a group full of talented employees? 

Read more: The urgent need for a leadership development plan 

12 characteristics of high potential employees 

The infographic below summarises the 12 most prominent characteristics that make up high potential employees. 

12 characteristics of high potential employees 

1. They are talented and produce consistently great work.

This is the easiest sign to spot. You can rest assured that any special project assigned to these high potential employees will be completed in the best possible way and within the designated deadline. 

Read more: Giving “difficult” high performers special treatment: yes or no? 

2. They look to put their leadership skills into practice and develop them further.

Your high potential employees are well aware of their abilities. If a leader is absent, they will jump at the chance and quickly put what they've learned into practice. Mistakes might occur, but that does not stop them from bettering themselves. 

3. They are ready to face any challenge with a calm demeanour.

HIPOs live true to the saying: "When the going gets tough, the tough get going." In difficult times, or in times of crisis, you can always count on your high potentials.  

4. They care about the company's future and want to be involved.

Your HIPOs care about the company's success and its future growth. HIPOs always strive to better themselves, and they also want to make a positive impact on the environment surrounding them. 

Read more: How high-tech giants establish successful corporate cultures 

5. They continuously sharpen their skills.

High potential employees aren't afraid to ask questions. They want to make sure that every decision made is accurate and impactful. They are also interested in learning new skills and strive hard to improve themselves daily. 

Read more: 3 key steps to keep you from overrating your leadership skills 

6. They openly share about their career goals.

As these HIPOs are passionate about their career and strive to contribute more to the company, they are very transparent about their future goals and what they hope to accomplish.  

7. They are open to both good and bad feedback.

Your future leaders find feedback to be an important part of their continuous learning journey.  

They do not shy away from comments stating their faults. They welcome every advice and try to incorporate as much of the feedback into improving their work. 

8. They work well in group settings and are willing to help others when they can.

Just like how great leaders should act, HIPOs immerse themselves in team projects and don’t have any problem working with different people in a team setting. 

Some HIPOs even have close friends in the office due to their caring personality and team spirit. 

Read more: Why is Collaborative Leadership important? 

9. They invest in creating an enjoyable workplace and culture.

It's not an overstatement to say that these future leaders live and breathe company culture

They reinforce the culture with everything that they do. Furthermore, as it is their nature to attract like-minded individuals, they have coincidentally created a more enjoyable environment where everybody works harmoniously. 

10. They earn respect from colleagues due to their hard work.

They are diligent, hard-working and always considerate towards others. Therefore, it is understandable why high potential employees easily earn the trust of their peers and managers. 

11. They are eager to work outside of their comfort zones.

These future leaders don't constrain themselves with predetermined responsibilities. They stretch their limits by accepting tasks or projects beyond their roles. When necessary, they also help others with projects they are not directly involved with.  

Read more: Want to grow? Move out of your comfort zone and into the growth zone! 

12. They possess a high level of emotional intelligence.

HIPOs don't confront others with harsh words; they try to understand where they are coming from by putting themselves in other people's shoes.  

They are empathetic and possess a high level of emotional intelligence. 

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 Rick Yvanovich
 /Founder & CEO/

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