Lesson in Leadership

How to Assess Leadership and Potential for Any Job

Source | LinkedIn : By Lou Adler

A few weeks ago I wrote a post defining leadership as the ability to both determine the best solution to a problem and then successfully implementing it. These are two totally separate abilities. One without the other is half a leader. One half is someone who talks a good game but doesn’t deliver the results. The other half is someone who is too structured to deliver anything other than what’s already been delivered. In the post I described the Anchor and Visualize questioning pattern as a means to assess leadership for any type of job. 

Assessing potential to deliver bigger and better solutions is a little more complex but it can be done by using the same two questions with a bit of a twist. Here’s how: 

  1. Determine the depth and breadth of the candidate’s thinking process by making the problems more complex. The idea is to determine the point when the person’s thinking skills go from specific to general.
  2. Evaluate the complexity of the person’s past achievements and decision-making process. If the bigger role is comparable on these factors, it’s likely the person will be successful as long as his or her organizational and project management skills are strong.
  3. Determine the rate of growth of the person’s past accomplishments. If the person’s track record shows increasing scope, scale and impact it’s likely the person will remain on the same trend line.
  4. Separate the person’s true confidence in handling bigger challenges from false bravado. People who have successfully handled stretch roles and have been tested under fire typically can handle similar stretch roles.

(As a side note, you might want to try out the same approach for POTUS contenders.)

I’ve been successfully using this concept to assess job candidates for the past 25 years as a means to predict their performance in new roles, many of them bigger, and all of them different. The process starts by getting the hiring manager to define the work that needs to be done as a series of performance objectives rather than skills and experiences. During the interview I describe the tasks that need to be done and then have the candidates describe a comparable accomplishment for each one. With all of the fact-finding involved, it usually takes 15-20 minutes to fully understand and compare the accomplishments. 

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