A good manager will guide a company to success by setting goals, then organizing activity around reaching that goal. If this path is well thought out, the company will grow in the ways that are planned. That growth will form the basis for the next set of goals for the company to work towards. If all goes well, the company will meet its targets, and in the course of the work, the team members will develop new skills.
In order to grow more rapidly or to adjust quickly to changing markets, however, the leader needs to be able to identify less obvious opportunities. Seeing new opportunities is a very specific and visionary competency, and not in the toolkit of every manager. Opportunities are not always easy to find, and pursuing them can be a risk. Having the courage and the ability to act to make them come to fruition is the definition of leadership.
Sometimes the opportunity that presents itself is a “diamond in the rough” employee. This is a person who needs to develop their skills or hone their presentation in order to be more successful. Building those characteristics will take time, training and resources, and there might not obviously be an immediate ROI for the company.
Sometimes the opportunity is a new business offering or target customer. Leaving what is known and comfortable can feel like putting the current model on the backburner. It is way more difficult and time consuming to develop new lines than it is to keep going with what has been working.
True leadership is demonstrated when a person takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential.