Two key points from John Kotter’s classic article “What Leaders Really Do“:
Successful organizations don’t wait for leaders to come along. They actively seek out people with leadership potential and expose them to career experiences designed to develop that potential.
Organizations that do a better-than-average job of developing leaders put an emphasis on creating challenging opportunities for relatively young employees. In many organizations, decentralization is the key.
In other words: Be intentional about identifying and developing leaders. And you need to do this with young people, rather than thinking that nobody can do anything significant until they’re 40.
One more point from the article:
Institutionalizing a leadership-centered culture is the ultimate act of leadership.