The person who claims the spotlight or advances ideas most forcefully is probably not the individual you want to assume a leadership position tomorrow. He or she probably embodies these traits instead:
A history of effective leadership.
A constructive spirit of discontent, i.e., an “unscratchable itch.”
The ability to come up with practical ideas, not just imaginative ones.
A willingness to take responsibility for things that do not work out as planned.
The ability to bring things to completion.
The ability to bounce back from setbacks and show mental toughness.
The respect of peers and subordinates.
The rare ability to make people want to listen to them.
—Adapted from “Ten Ways to Identify a Promising Person,” Fred Smith, Leadership Journal.