Leadership is "the action of leading a group of people or an organization—or the ability to do this," according to the Oxford Dictionary. While this is the dictionary definition of leadership, there are many more interpretations of what leadership is and what makes someone a leader.
As John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the United States, once said, "If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more and become more, you are a leader." A common misconception is that "manager" and "leader" are interchangeable terms, especially in business—but a manager and a leader are not one in the same. A manager can be a leader but a leader is not always the "boss" of others. So let's be clear on the difference between the two before we get into more specifics on the qualities of a business leader. Below are a few distinctions between managers and leaders:
"Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision and relentlessly drive it to completion," said Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO of General Electric Co. A good leader will exhibit certain key qualities that are most often sought after by organizations. Those qualities come out in each individual's personality and can be told through more than their resume; they are qualities that made the person who she/he is. Here are some questions we recommend our clients consider when evaluating an individual for their leadership ability:
Ask these questions when you are considering someone for a leadership role. If you are looking at someone internal with whom you have worked for a while, then you may already be able to answer these questions and have a sense of the person well before the interview. If this is a new person to your organization, approach the interview with a plan to learn as much as you can about them outside of what is just on the resume. Being a leader is about more than your experience; a leader needs to inspire, innovate and enhance an organization.