Leadership potential is the baseline from which everyone should be judged – including every candidate you assess as a potential new hire. Leadership influences the culture of your organization and determines the ultimate success or failure of your business.

Pillars of Leadership

Dave R. Palmer is the author of a book entitled George Washington and Benedict Arnold: A Tale of Two Patriots.

That’s right. Although Washington is recognized as one of the greatest American heroes of all times and Arnold is shunned as a despised traitor, both were known as two of the greatest warriors in the Revolutionary War. The difference between the two men? Character, which in Palmer’s eyes, equates to strong leadership skills. The author cites these pillars of leadership, which you also can use as you get to know your job candidates:

  • Fortitude: The mental and emotional strength to face challenges and persevere, despite adversity.
  • Responsibility: Self-discipline, accountability, temperance and self-control.
  • Prudence: Practical wisdom and the ability to make the right choice in specific situations.
  • Fairness: Honesty, justice and evidence they consistently keep their promises.
  • Trustworthiness: Honesty, integrity, loyalty and dependability.
  • Respect: Civility and courtesy in their behavior toward others, along with decency, tolerance and acceptance.
  • Caring: Sincere expressions of benevolence and altruism.
  • Citizenship: Dedication to the rights, privileges and behavior that relate to the duties, obligations and functions of a good citizen.

What Else to Look For

You want to hire leaders who embody and portray the same qualities your organization seeks to express through its mission, vision and values.

  • Have them define “strategic thinking.” An individual who describes a process of learning and exploring, followed by questioning established practices and then using creative problem-solving techniques, is likely someone who engages in productive strategic thinking on a regular basis: one of the key hallmarks of a leader.
  • Ask about their personal passions. Don’t just inquire into a candidate’s professional goals, ask about their personal interests. Look for passion that extends beyond their jobs. High levels of passion are a good sign they have the energy to pursue goals with vigor. It will naturally spill over into their on-the-job performance.
  • Look for motivation, drive and resiliency. Is the candidate in the race just for the paycheck – or are they motivated to be part of something bigger than themselves? Do they have a heartfelt desire to help grow your business? Highly motivated individuals ask thoughtful questions that may make them appear skeptical about the job or your company because they are naturally curious, inquisitive and eager for more information. They also tend to be resilient and able to stay on task, despite unplanned setbacks. Ask them about obstacles they have successfully overcome in the past.

As you hire the leaders who will help take your business to the next level, consider partnering with StaffMasters. We can help design the talent acquisition and management strategy you need to achieve and maintain top leadership status within your industry. Contact us today so we can tell you more.


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