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4 Leadership Qualities Employers Look For

4 Leadership Qualities Employers Look For
When interviewing for a leadership position, highlight your strong character traits like integrity and good judgment. / Credit: Job interview image via Shutterstock

What's wrong with today's leaders? Apparently a lot. According to a recent article by the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology (SIOP), nearly every industry across the country is suffering from a leadership crisis, and hiring managers aren't doing much to improve the situation.

"There is a lot of incompetence in leadership positions," Robert Hogan, president of personality test provider Hogan Assessment Systems, told SIOP. "People rarely get appointed to senior positions based upon their talent for leadership. They reach their job level as a result of internal politics. But if the wrong people are in charge, it can be disastrous for the employees and the organization."

Robert Kaiser, president of Kaiser Leadership Solutions, noted that part of the problem is the way today's leaders are being trained. [5 Simple Ways to Become a Better Leader]

"Much of today's leadership development is better framed as career management — helping managers get better approval ratings and promotions," Kaiser said. "The emphasis should be on helping leaders get better results by engaging employees and building high-performing teams, because the person in charge cannot do everything that needs to done alone. There needs to be a clear consensus of what leadership is, and sound operational models staffed with people who have the needed competencies and skills."

The cure for this leadership crisis, said the SIOP article, will come when employers begin exercising more care in selecting and developing their leaders. Hogan recommended that hiring managers seek out the following characteristics in potential leaders. As a leadership candidate, emphasizing these four qualities in yourself could make you stand out and improve your chances of landing the job.

Integrity - Are you honest? Do you keep your word? Can you be trusted to not exploit your position and the company's resources for your own purpose? If your company is hiring from within, your track record on the job can demonstrate your level of integrity. As an outside hire, previous employers and references should be able to vouch for your character.

Good judgment - While everyone hopes that each business decision made is the right one, things sometimes don't work out as planned. Good judgment is all about being willing to repair bad judgment, as well as following up and evaluating your decisions to see if they were right.

Competence - Workers want to feel assured and confident that their leader knows the business inside and out. As a potential leader, it's crucial to show your supervisors that you have the knowledge and experience necessary to handle the tasks of your position.

Vision - Every leader has a vision for where he or she wants to see the company go. Can you communicate and justify your vision, and impress upon your team that what they are doing is worthwhile?

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Nicole Fallon

Nicole received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. Nicole served as the site's managing editor until January 2018, and briefly ran Business.com's copy and production team. Follow her on Twitter.