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Interviewing Questions for Leadership Competencies

by Debra Kraft, studioD

When an organization is looking for new leadership, the followers are typically already in place. If you think of employees as assets, you’ll want to get the best return on investment. That means finding a leader employees will want to follow. Just because someone has held management positions does not mean she is a good leader. Interviewing for leadership competencies should focus on identifying the person behind the credentials listed on a resume.

How Do You Promote Organizational Ethics?

Successful leaders recognize the importance of ethical business practices. Ask candidates what they have done to develop or implement ethics policies. But that’s only the first step. Policies can often be too generic to translate clearly into specific job functions. Ask for examples to show how candidates make sure all employees understand their roles in building an ethical corporate culture and a trust-based working environment.

What is Your Communication Style?

Successful leaders are good communicators. Ask candidates to describe their communication styles and skills. Assess their responses to determine if they do what they say. See if they can provide analogies to convey meaningful messages, and whether information is well organized during delivery. Active listening is an important aspect of effective communication. A candidate who provides insightful answers proves she is applying active listening techniques.

How Do You Inspire and Motivate?

Successful leaders motivate employees to get the job done. The best leaders inspire employees and motivate them to excel. Ask candidates what steps they take to bring out the best in employees. Bullying or threatening employees will not build a team of followers. Likewise, leaders who focus on rewards and punishment won’t inspire lasting teams -- employees will follow only until they can find better opportunities. A self-centered approach is also not ideal. Employees want to follow someone who expresses genuine interest in them and recognizes their efforts, not someone who takes credit for their work.

How Do You Balance Work and Spare Time?

Successful leaders recognize the value of self development. Ask candidates what they enjoy doing in their spare time. Leaders who have interests outside of work are likely to understand the importance of relaxing to recharge. They will be inclined to promote this quality in the workplace, helping to keep employees energized. Candidates who express a dedication to self development are likely to recognize the importance of continually developing team competencies, enabling employees to constantly strive to excel.

About the Author

A careers content writer, Debra Kraft is a former English teacher whose 25-plus year corporate career includes training and mentoring. She holds a senior management position with a global automotive supplier and is a senior member of the American Society for Quality. Her areas of expertise include quality auditing, corporate compliance, Lean, ERP and IT business analysis.

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