How to Spot Potential: The Art of Identifying Future Leaders

Rob Hoskins, OneHope President

2024 — a new year with endless potential. As soon as January hits the scene, dormant goals and aspirations appear. 

Beyond the potential to make wise health or financial choices, we have the opportunity as mentors, parents, and friends to call out the leadership potential in others. In 2024, it’s estimated more people from Gen Z will be working full-time than Boomers. With a new surge of young adults entering workplaces, we can be intentional about cultivating their gifts and talents. 

I’m often asked, “How do you spot potential in someone who can become a great leader?” While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, I’ve honed in on key attributes that consistently stand out when searching for potential leaders. I want to share my insights on spotting potential, drawing from the lessons I’ve learned throughout my journey.


Innovation: solving unseen problems

potentialWhen it comes to identifying potential leaders, I often look at their approach to innovation. Are they attempting to solve problems that still need to be addressed? What challenges are they drawn to, and why do they believe their ideas or innovations can provide solutions? The ability to spot unaddressed issues and create effective solutions is a telltale sign of a future leader’s potential.


Inquisitiveness: a thirst for knowledge

In my experience, inquisitiveness is a crucial indicator of potential leadership. When someone consistently asks questions, seeking to understand and learn, it’s a strong sign that they have the drive to grow and excel. Personality isn’t the deciding factor here; introverts can be just as inquisitive as extroverts. The depth and breadth of their questions often reveal their potential to lead and innovate. 


Ambition: a holy cause

potentialAmbition is a term that can carry negative connotations, but in the context of Christian leadership, it takes on a whole different meaning. I look for ambitious individuals, not as ‘ladder climbers,’ but as individuals fervently dedicated to a holy cause. It’s a drive to be the person God intended them to be and to lead a life of purpose and integrity. This ambition for a cause fuels a leader’s passion.


Boldness: the willingness to act

A leader’s journey demands a degree of boldness. Individuals unafraid to take calculated risks and step out of their comfort zones often display great potential. While wisdom and discernment are vital, an inability to act due to fear of failure can be limiting. Leaders need to believe they can make a difference, propelling them to act.


Pure motives: the treatment of others

How someone treats others is a window into their character. You can gain many insights from how someone treats a server at a restaurant. Even young managers provide a glimpse into their potential as leaders through their interactions with their teams and colleagues. How they treat others in everyday encounters is a testament to their character and, consequently, their capacity to be great leaders.

The art of spotting potential

Spotting potential is an art, not a science. It’s about looking beyond the surface and discerning the qualities that make an individual stand out. Potential leaders exhibit innovation, inquisitiveness, ambition for a higher purpose, boldness and pure motives. They desire to serve and make a difference. These qualities, in combination, form a portrait of future leaders.

Observe and reflect on these attributes as you engage with individuals in your sphere. By doing so, you’ll be better equipped to identify the leaders of tomorrow and help them step into their potential, guiding them on their unique leadership journey. 


Rob Hoskins is President of OneHope. His innovative Outcome Based Ministry model and training has helped thousands of global ministries shift their paradigm and begin incorporating best practices that dramatically increase their effectiveness.

Read more by Rob Hoskins at

Share this article