MWA - Merlin Wright Associates

Let's Talk

Let’s Talk


    MWA - Begin Your Journey

    5 Strategies for Spotting Future Leaders in Your Remote Team

    Recognising leadership potential in your team – although essential to good management – can be difficult at the best of times. Making ongoing inferences, recommendations and long-term suggestions for those future leaders within your team is a subjective experience. These judgements develop from time spent with people, observing working styles and interactions with the rest of the team, along with responses to crises. So how does this work when your team is remote?


    Along with countless other benefits, offering remote working gives you access to a much larger talent pool – however, it can diminish your chances to form strong interpersonal relationships with your team. When you’re a manager looking for the next person to support into leadership, it can be difficult to judge who has what it takes without the observations you glean from day-to-day interactions. In this article, we present our suggestions for effectively identifying future leaders within a remote team.

    Know what you’re looking for:

    Organisational research has found a wealth of traits that suggest someone could be suited to management. Here are some qualities to look out for within your own team, and how they might manifest themselves:

    • Successful track record of performance in their roles.
    • Ability to learn from experience and failure: how have they acted after failure, changes, etc.
    • Self-awareness and self-evaluation: are they able to make reflections on their own performance?
    • Leadership disposition: behaviour, interactions with the team.
    • Motivation to lead: are they asking for more responsibility in their performance reviews, do they take charge of projects?
    • Aptitude for logic and reasoning: this may arise from results on leadership assessment tests or your experience of observing their managing challenging situations.

    Create a variety of engagement opportunities across the team:

    Not everyone is going to seize their chance to speak on large team calls or give presentations. When working remote, your one-on-one daily interactions are significantly reduced.  One way to combat this is to commit to speaking with a few individuals each month from your team. This way, you can ensure that you engage with as many people on an individual basis as possible, giving everyone the opportunity to stand out. Following these one-on-ones, you will be much more equipped to consider who has real leadership potential.

    Make Data-Driven Decisions:

    A large portion of assessing a team comes from a subjective judgement on your behalf – and while your own feelings about someone are important, you should be able to back these judgements up with data. This might be in the form of success metrics, the testimony of other employees or leadership assessment results. This type of quantitative information should be used to bolster your opinion of someone – having evidence to corroborate your opinion of your mentee goes a long way to convince other leaders that they have potential.

    Promote Meaningful Collaboration:

    Encourage connection and collaboration among your team and see how potential leaders contribute to the conversation. Try to keep your meetings dynamic and collaborative; if you have a large team, split them into breakout rooms with problems or discussion points to tackle. You can join different teams and observe who works well in conjunction with others.

    Take In-Person Opportunities When Offered:

    If an opportunity arises to spend time in person with your team, you should take it. Having the group together is a great way to see the relationships within the team and peoples’ interpersonal skills more clearly. You may be surprised by changes in your judgement towards people when you see them outside of the screen.


    Rather than being an exhaustive checklist, these strategies aim to help you bring about observation opportunities – opportunities to see your team in action, where you can identify leadership qualities in the people you manage. At the end of the day, it is crucial for you to rely on your own judgement and experience when finding future leaders within your team.

    If you would like assistance in building up the future leaders within your company, or attracting dynamic future leaders through new hires, arrange a conversation with one of our consultants here:

    Start a Conversation

      Download our e-brochure Download