How To Recognize a Good Leader for Your Company

Traditional interviews, background checks, and clever "scenario" questions might help you turn up a good leader. But sometimes, in spite of your best efforts, you end up hiring a problem, and then struggling to get rid of him or her.

Here are some characteristics of good leaders and bad, that may help you find the pearls and avoid the pain.

Good vs. Bad Leaders table
Good Leaders vs. Bad Leaders

Naturally before hiring a key employee, you'll do a thorough background check and provide him or her with a detailed job description. But many of the traits of a bad leader are easy to miss in a standard hiring process. Some experts suggest that, in an interview, you may be able to uncover potential problems by discussing the job you offer in terms of how it contrasts with the candidate's current job.

It's also a good idea to focus discussion on your company's ethics, and how you expect the person you hire to interact with others inside and outside of the company in the course of business, including public figures, shareholders, and the press.

Another way to broaden your radar to weed out candidates who are a bad fit with your workforce is to have extensive conversations with the candidate's former associates, and to ask the right questions, such as:

  • How does this person handle conflict?
  • Is he or she willing to share credit where appropriate?
  • How does this person deal with subordinates, colleagues, vendors, clients, and superiors?
  • When decisions must be made, does this person try to build consensus? Accept advice? Act unilaterally and expect others to fall in line?

Figuring out whether a candidate will be a good leader can be a difficult task. But ensuring that key managers have the characteristics on the left side of the chart above can help ensure your organization's success.

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