Q&A: What Are the Hallmark Signs Of Leadership?
A: Sometimes, it is difficult to quantify the traits comprising successful leadership. The obvious traits include: effective communication of a vision to others; the ability to execute; the ability to enroll others in the mission/vision, and the ability to generate resources to meet a mission/vision. Stamina, resilience, persistence and integrity are other key qualities.
In addition to these qualities, I also look for the candidate’s measurable growth over time. If the resume reflects consistent development, I feel comfortable making positive assumptions about the candidate’s underlying leadership ability. I also look to see orderly career progression — movement up the ranks with increasing responsibility, thoughtful professional development, periodic promotions and measurable accomplishments in each successive role. Further, I like seeing and hearing about actual dollars, number of programs and clients who benefited from the success of a particular mission/vision. These quantitative clues suggest strong leadership.
Another avenue I use to assess a candidate’s leadership is feedback from references. Frequently, references provide details supporting the idea that a candidate has grown and developed over time. They can give depth and context to the candidate’s career. They corroborate the “story” outlined in the resume.