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How to assess leadership potential


Many organizations have leadership competency models that set out the characteristics and behaviours sought in their leaders. But leadership coach Scott Eblin, on the Monster Thinking blog argues those tend to be too full of jargon and clichés to be helpful.

Mr. Eblin narrows the desired qualities into two categories: behaviours that drive results, and behaviours that build relationships.

In assessing a candidate's ability to drive results, he suggests these questions as a starting point:

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  • How well does the candidate understand which results matter most and why they do?
  • How skilled is the candidate in establishing goals that lead to results?
  • What demonstrated experience does the candidate have in creating plans that achieve goals?
  • What is the candidate’s demonstrated capacity to operate in a volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous world?
  • Do they operate as a lifelong learner?

In assessing ability to build relationships, he offers these issues to consider:

  • What is the candidate’s track record in connecting with a diverse range of people?
  • How good is the candidate at coaching others to higher levels of performance?
  • How likely is the candidate to collaborate with peers outside his or her immediate work area to create cross-boundary results?
  • How skilled is the candidate in influencing powerful people to adopt a preferred course of action?
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About the Author
Management columnist

Harvey Schachter is a Kingston, Ont.-based writer specializing in management issues. He writes Monday Morning Manager and management book reviews for the print edition of Report on Business and an online column, Power Points. More

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