Evaluating a Candidate’s Leadership Abilities

In advice to boards about hiring CEOs, Warren Bennis and James O’Toole recommend that a board should interview a candidate’s superiors, peers and direct reports with questions that will drive to the heart of the candidate. Here is a list of questions they recommend. How would your colleagues answer these questions about YOU?

  • Does the candidate lead consistently in a way that inspires followers to trust him?
  • Does the candidate hold people accountable for their performance and promises?
  • Is the candidate comfortable delegating important tasks to others?
  • How much time does the candidate spend developing other leaders?
  • How much time does the candidate spend communicating the company’s vision, purpose and values? Do people down the line apply this vision to their day-to-day work?
  • How comfortable is the candidate sharing information, resources, praise and credit?
  • Does the candidate energize others?
  • Does the candidate consistently demonstrate respect for followers?
  • Does the candidate really listen?

ExecuNet Executive Insider, July 5, 2004
by Warren Bennis

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