6 leadership qualities to look for when hiring

The best worker isn't always the best leader and leaders aren't always where you'd expect to find them. Here are six tips to identifying and hiring leaders.

leadership qualties

Leadership qualities to look for when hiring

Leadership isn't confined to the C-suite. Companies increasingly look for solid leadership skills when adding to their workforce, whether the roles are entry-level or executive. Stephany Samuels, senior vice president of people strategy at IT recruiting and staffing firm Mondo, explains which qualities you should be looking for when hiring and how to identify the leaders in your talent pool.

"Companies thrive and grow when their workforce is comprised of leaders that instinctively explore creative solutions and bring out the best in their colleagues. So, how can you enhance your ability to recognize a leader in the hiring process? There are some qualities you should be looking for when you're hiring for leaders," she says.

Proven skills development

Proven skills development

A leader is constantly looking to improve themselves, and they take ownership of that responsibility by identifying and pursuing professional development opportunities whenever they can, says Samuels. "Asking candidates how they've developed their skills will give you a window into how serious they are about seeking out these types of opportunities on their own," she says.

Fearless decision-making

Fearless decision-making

Leaders aren't afraid of making a mistake, especially if it's made to reach for more innovative solutions. How can you identify this trait in a potential hire? "Request examples of a difficult workplace decision they've made or how they found the solution to a tricky problem will help give insight into how they view decision-making," Samuels says.

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Desire for feedback

Desire for feedback

Top performers know that to grow professionally, they need to know how they are doing. They request feedback and appreciate when it's given. You don't have to wait until someone's hired to explore their feelings on the topic, though. "You can broach the topic of feedback in the interview process and let the candidate tell you about the times they sought out feedback and how they reacted to it," Samuels says.

Engaging, dynamic personality

Engaging, dynamic personality

Leaders are people you want to be around and who naturally motivate and inspire their colleagues, Samuels says. "Leaders are often engaging and have a dynamic personality that draws people to them and motivates others to be more like them. This is true for both introverts and extroverts. While nerves are a common component of any interview, this shouldn't hold natural leaders back from letting their personality shine through," she says.

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Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence

Along with a dynamic personality, leaders excel in emotional intelligence, which is priceless in a business environment, Samuels says. It's all about empathy and understanding how to put themselves in others' shoes. "Understanding the emotions that drive those around them and how to best manage those to reach an end goal is more important than any other intrapersonal skill. Ask candidates to describe a situation when they've used emotional intelligence to their advantage in a professional environment," she says.

6 quality over everything

Quality over everything

A true leader doesn't do something just to get it done, and they don't tend to do things halfheartedly or sloppily, Samuels says. They are finished when the quality of the finished product is the highest it possibly can be. "Leaders want everything they sign off on to reflect their -- and their teams' commitment to excellence. Asking for specific examples of work or metrics that showcase the quality of their work will help you identify whether they are the leader you need," Samuels says.

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