Have you got the leadership XFactor?
I was delighted to have the opportunity to run a workshop and create a briefing paper for Girl Geek Scotland as part of their Critical Skills for Leadership programme. We had an amazing venue for the event courtesy of White Space in Edinburgh. My topic was ‘Have you got the Leadership XFactor?’ based on research from the Harvard Business Review into what it means to be a high potential employee.
I kicked off with a facilitated discussion on the table stakes criteria for being a high potential employee or leader which are suggested to be:
Learn & Aquire New Skills
We also considered why it’s important, as a leader, to be able to demonstrate these skills. The key call outs being:
Opportunities for Development
Access to the Top Talent List
The session then turned to the suggestion that high potential employees also tend to exhibit some key differentiators that truly set them apart from the rest of the pack. These are not necessarily skills or competencies but rather intangible qualities that the authors of the research call ‘The XFactors’.
A Drive to Excel – a thirst for accomplishment, going the extra mile and making hard decisions
Catalytic Learning – being able to apply what has been learned for business impact and solution orientation
Enterprising Spirit – a hunger for new challenges, risk-taking and the ability to seize the right opportunities
Dynamic Sensors – an innate ability to be in the right place at the right time and being able to avoid foolish decision making
We explored these XFactors in small groups, each group probing into one specific XFactor and discussing:
- how the XFactors can be applied in practice
- how they can be developed
- what pitfalls to expect
- how to avoid them
I concluded the session with a summary, noting that a combination of the baseline criteria, together with the XFactors ultimately lead to success and promotion.