Does Your Candidate Possess the Right Leadership Characteristics?

BY Kathy Crosett
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As you think about who you’re going to promote or hire into leadership positions, have you taken key personality aspects into account? Research from Kansas State University shows that leaders with the most job satisfaction share a particular set of characteristics. Further, these characteristics can help a new manager become a ‘transformational’ leader.

The Kansas State University was conducted by Andrew Wefald, associate professor in the Staley School of Leadership Studies, and several collaborators. The researchers were interested in studying the links between “interpersonal skills, work engagement, transformational leadership and job satisfaction.” While the researchers checked out interpersonal skills like emotional control and emotional sensitivity, they found that political skills are key for managers who excel at transformational leadership.

Within the category of political skills, Wefald identified 4 key characteristics that translate to success. These characteristics are:

  • Networking ability
  • Apparent sincerity
  • Social astuteness
  • Interpersonal influence

Leaders with these characteristics will typically be able to inspire their teams to achieve and surpass organizational goals. In addition, these kinds of leaders also demonstrate much higher engagement and satisfaction levels with their positions. Wefald observes that when the right kind of individual is placed into a leadership role, she’ll bring more commitment and energy to the job. At the same time, team members will feel more engaged and stay with the organization.

Wefald also points out that while some of these skills are teachable, leaders who naturally possess these characteristics will likely have an advantage. If you’re regularly screening candidates for key leadership positions, consider investing in a personality assessment system. It’s likely that every candidate will fall short in some key area, but after reviewing the assessment, you’ll know what you are getting and you’ll know which type of training will be necessary to help him feel comfortable in his new role.