When we ask CEOs if they have succession plans in place for their management team, most are quick to tell us that one of their biggest concerns is filling the leadership gap they confidently predict will happen over the next three to 10 years. Deloitte’s 2014 Global Human Capital Trends stated that 83 percent of the companies surveyed are seriously worried about finding and developing their future leaders.

So, where do you find these future or emerging leaders?

Your current position has nothing to do with your leadership potential. The difference between the position you hold on the organizational chart and being a leader is a simple, yet powerful, understanding. Your position gives you a specific amount of power to make decisions, tell people what to do and get things done. True leaders may or may not have a title. They always, however, have relationships where others want to follow and support them in getting things done. Anyone can be a leader if they consistently exhibit the behaviors that others want to follow.

Leadership has very little to do with your level of technical expertise and everything to do with your ability to build and earn the type of relationship where people want to follow you. Very seldom is the most technical IT person the best manager or VP of the department. Their strong focus on their technical expertise has a tendency to undermine their ability to build relationships and a great team.

When we think about future or emerging leaders, we tend to focus on the younger generation. But, age alone should never be our sourcing criteria. Although it is predicted that by 2020 half of the working population will be millennials, the other half will still be viable candidates for future leadership. So, if age is not the criteria, what are the characteristics of a great candidate to be a future leader? The following 11 competencies will be a great vision or guideline for your department or organization as you discuss who has the right stuff to be a future leader.

Confidence: Future leaders are confident. Confident leaders truly believe that they can add value, make a difference and improve the condition of their job, team or organization. Confidence also plays a significant role in determining how comfortable people feel in taking on additional responsibilities and in giving praise and recognition to others when they accomplish something significant.

Excellent communicators: Great future leaders are good at communicating so others are kept in the loop regarding projects and there are no negative surprises. Excellent communicators have a history of improving relationships when they open their mouths or hit send on a written email. Some people have a history of saying something that upsets customers and even other team members. Great communicators choose the right words so that people feel better, not worse, at the end of the conversation.

Continuous learners: Future leaders do not wait for their boss or the company to tell them what they want them to learn, either formally or informally. Emerging leaders are continuous learners who know that in today’s world, with a couple of taps on a keyboard, you can educate yourself on anything you have the desire to learn.

Take responsibility: Future leaders take responsibility for their decisions and actions and are not in the habit of blaming others or providing excuses for why they did not do what they said they were going to do.

Demonstrate accountability: Future leaders are like the mail person. They consistently deliver the goods… on time, every time.

Think like an owner: Some team members only think about themselves or their department and what is best for them. Owners constantly think about what is best for the customer and the overall organization. To be a promotable leader, you constantly need to be thinking about how your decisions and actions impact others in the organization. When you think about other departments and the overall organization, you are ready to lead the next level of management.

Values are in alignment: Future leaders exhibit behaviors that tell everyone their values are in alignment with the values of the organization. They treat others with dignity and respect. They promote innovation, and are constantly trying to improve the projects they complete. They work well on a team and produce high-quality work. They treat people, both internally and externally, as customers. When their values are in alignment with the organization, it is much easier to build a team whose values are in alignment with the organization.

Team players: Future leaders are able to build relationships with all types of people.

Already leaders: A great identification tool for choosing emerging leaders is to select people who others already informally follow. Who are the go-to people in your organization that people rely on for information, getting stuff done or making important decisions? The people who have this competency have already demonstrated their leadership capabilities.

Coachable: I’ve written many times that I believe that only half of the population is coachable. About one-half of leaders are great at taking feedback, incorporating it into their personal and professional lives, and taking new actions based on the feedback they receive. These are the leaders who confidently say, “I can learn and I can change.” The other half of the population got whacked with Popeye Syndrome. These team members have a habit of making excuses and defending themselves from feedback they don’t want to hear. They stubbornly fall back on Popeye’s famous line, “I am what I am.” Coachable leaders are great at finding themes and patterns in feedback provided to them and then taking the necessary actions to better themselves.

Deliver results: Being a high performer is a key trait of future leaders. In fact, this is probably the best way to get your first promotion. When you think about it, it’s your only option. If you put someone with mediocre results in a leadership position, the only logical outcome is a team that also produces mediocre results. The challenge for high performers who have received their first promotion is transforming the results they contributed as an individual into a team capable of delivering equally stellar results.

The demographics of the workforce are changing rapidly. What is not changing, however, is the need to identify and develop the future leaders of our organizations, regardless of age. Who do you have on your team or in your organization that exhibits the skills listed above, or demonstrates the potential to gain these skills? If you have any characteristics you would add to the list, add your thoughts in the comments below!