What Makes a Great Leader?

How do you hire an exceptional leader for your organization?

Easy. Just find a candidate who is great at everything!

If only it were that simple. While assessing an individual’s experience and job skills is fairly straightforward for a seasoned hiring manager, gauging leadership abilities can be a much bigger challenge.

We’re here to make the process a little easier for you. While no definitive “leadership litmus test” exists, and requirements vary based on the needs of each position, here are a few qualities that correlate closely with successful leadership:

Humility. Research by the University of Seattle found that humble individuals make great leaders because they’re open to learning, and foster learning in others. As a result, their direct reports are motivated to work harder and improve themselves.

When interviewing, look for candidates who are confident in their own abilities, but humble enough to consider others’ ideas.

Emotional intelligence. Great leaders don’t just have a high IQ; they have a high EQ, or emotional intelligence quotient.

Look for evidence that your candidate:
is attuned to the needs and feelings of others;
has a high level of self-awareness;
has intense concentration abilities;
and trusts his intuition.

Integrity. To thrive long-term within your organization, and earn employees’ trust and respect, a leader must be honest, fair and transparent. Not surprisingly, people will work harder for a leader who is straightforward and who does things for the right reasons.

Ask behavioral interview questions to uncover evidence that a candidate’s values and ethics are consistent with those of your organization.

Calculated risk-taking. An exceptional leader knows how to walk the fine line between reckless and timid behavior. He does his homework, welcomes change and, when appropriate, takes reasonable risks to achieve goals.

Search for candidates who have been successful at making tough decisions that included a measure of uncertainty or risk.

Effective delegation. A good leader knows he can’t do everything himself – and he doesn’t try to. Instead, he surrounds himself with other great people whom he can trust to handle certain responsibilities. By doing so, a leader frees up more of his time to focus on his key priorities, while providing his employees with essential growth and learning opportunities.

To gauge delegation abilities, ask about a candidate’s experience with prioritizing tasks and assigning responsibilities to subordinates. Probe to learn more about his decision-making process and the results his team achieved.

Corps Team experienced recruiters use a wide range of interviewing and assessment tools to identify talented, proven leaders. Whether you need them for an assignment, project or direct role, trust us to deliver the exceptional professionals you need. Contact your local Corps Team office to learn more.

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