Finding a leader is a difficult thing to do. What qualities should you look for and how do you know if they are there? Read on and find out:
- Integrity: Take an individual without integrity and you get a BAD leader. So, how do you know if your candidate has integrity? Just outline several hypothetical situations drawn from business case studies and see if your interviewee can recognize subtle ethical issues like trust and transparency they hold.
- Empathy: A leader can’t possibly lead if he doesn’t understand what his followers are feeling. To see if your candidate has empathy, pay particular attention to his listening skills. You can also use crisis simulations to see how empathetic the person is to others under pressure. A discussion of a case study in which empathy plays a role comes in handy too.
- Emotional intelligence: A leader should know what his weaknesses are and should thus be able control himself, especially when under the scrutiny his position brings along. Asking candidates about their past experiences might be helpful if you want to find out what they have learned and how honest they are in revealing not so stellar performances. Candidates who are passionately committed to career development should also be on your radar.
- Vision: The ability to imagine a better future and the capacity to lead followers to it; this is what you should be looking for in a leader. Innovative thinking is the best way to demonstrate vision, so look for innovative thinking. Also look for candidates who are part realists and part optimists; this healthy blend is what it takes to persuade others to accept change and make something even of the worst of situations.
- Judgment: A leader must be able to make good decisions even under pressure and this is something that takes experience and an ability to control the emotional influences that distort decision-making. To find out how good your candidate’s judgment is, use case studies which reflect issues in the candidate’s own organization. The precise answer is not important; it’s how the candidate thinks under pressure.
- Courage: Is your candidate capable of withstanding the pressures of leadership? Facing attacks and setbacks with poise? Taking educated risks? Find this out by giving your candidate a hypothetical scenario. The answers should be evaluated according to three key elements of courage: commitment to core values, ability to navigate uncertainty, and patience.
- Passion: A passion to succeed and a passion for what he’s doing; you’ve got to look for this in your candidate. If your candidate speaks convincingly about how the organizational mission and his personal passions are intertwined during the interview, you’ve just found your leader!
Keep these 7 points in mind when looking for a leader and you’ll definitely do a great job of finding the perfect candidate.
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