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Leadership Assessment: 5 Questions That Highlight Executive Potential

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Here are five key questions that will help you when it comes to recruiting a leadership team

If you are in the process of assembling or recruiting a leadership team, you will be looking for proven ways in which to assess leadership potential. This isn’t an easy exercise, but it’s one you must get right for the future of your company.

You want to make sure you put the right people in the right positions, as hiring or promoting the wrong employee into a leadership position could prove costly in a number of ways. To preserve employee engagement and morale levels, you need to know what to look out for and what to avoid in terms of leadership.

As a team of business psychologists who live and breathe executive assessment, we can attest to the fact that the leaders with the most potential aren’t necessarily the most outgoing, the most confident, or the ones who have been with your company the longest. There is a lot to take into consideration; from strengths and natural skill to an ability to build a vision and unite others behind it.

When deliberating whether or not an employee is suitable for a leadership position, here are five key leadership assessment questions you should ask yourself.

1. Does the candidate value transparency?

Transparency has been named the leadership skill that can push employees to excel. With respect to leadership, transparency means that the leader is consistently honest and open. Such transparency evokes trust from those around you, allows relationships to form and encourages employees to work harder.

Is the candidate you’re interviewing old-fashioned, believing that real leaders wear a mask and keep relevant business information to those ‘in the know’? Attitudes such as this have led to the fact that 57% of employees don’t trust their manager. But, if you respect your employees, keeping them in the loop and updated on the goings-on of the business, you will see trust grow and productivity levels rise.

2. Does this candidate inspire trust and loyalty?

As mentioned above, trust is critical to the smooth running of any business. In fact, trust is more important to leadership than ever before. But trust involves more than just authentic, transparent communication. The right leadership candidate should understand that trust also requires a commitment to follow through on training or other promises. Trust requires a leader to be supportive and encouraging and it requires consistency.

If the employee is an existing part of your workforce, take note of whether or not their colleagues trust them, or whether they are so competitive and determined to succeed that they are willing to sacrifice others to get ahead.

3. Does the candidate accept responsibility when things go wrong?

When something goes wrong in a given project, how does your leadership candidate react? Are they eager to shift responsibility to another teammate, or do they acknowledge what has gone wrong and how they contributed? Nobody wants to work for a leader who is eager to play the blame game, focusing on the problem more than a real solution. Remember: a blame culture can be contagious in an organisation, so it needs to be stamped out swiftly.

Instead, keep an eye out for employees who can acknowledge and analyse a problem, decide what the ideal outcomes are and encourage their team to rectify the situation.

4. Can the candidate get those around them united and excited about a particular vision?

As CEO Barri Rafferty says: “A leader instils confidence and ‘followership’ by having a clear vision, showing empathy and being a strong coach.” The right leadership candidate will not only have a clear vision; they will be able to communicate with everyone on their team in such a way as to inspire excitement and determination, showing them how they play a key part in the ultimate success of the vision. This will show everyone that there is no team member who is superfluous. It will encourage collaboration, creativity and discretionary effort.

5. Can the candidate deliver effective, meaningful feedback?

Feedback and communication are increasingly critical to any business, which is why more and more companies are shifting to an agile form of performance management. Employees need to know how they are doing, where they are going wrong and how they can improve. On top of this, they need to know about opportunities for training and progression. The best leaders will feel comfortable and happy sitting down with and delivering honest, meaningful feedback that will inspire great performance and company loyalty.

To speak to a qualified business psychologist who can help you hire, train and motivate the future leaders of your company, get in touch with Davis Associates today. We’re the experts in executive assessment and executive coaching, so whether you’re looking for advice on a leadership development programme or you are seeking to boost employee engagement, our friendly team is happy to help.

Nick Davis
Nick Davis
Nick Davis is a business Psychologist and Director at Davis Associates, helping clients across the globe to achieve greater individual, team and organisational performance. Passionate about the beneficial qualities psychology can have within the workplace, see how Nick and Davis Associates can unlock the hidden potential of your workforce, click here. You can also find Nick on Linkedin

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