Questions Every Leader Should Be Able To Answer
How did you feel before or after a test in school? Whether I passed or not, I was always happy to have it over. I either breathed a sigh of relief after lots of hard work and preparation, or at least the pressure was off until the next one.
Leadership tests seem to come even more often than those in school. The stakes are often higher as well. In the real world passing or failing impacts more than just ourselves.
In an interview with the CEO of Charles Schwab, I came across some very intriguing interview tactics to discover the quality of a job candidate. Instead of looking at just their resume, Walt Bettinger devised a peculiar strategy that also provides insight into their character.
When I looked closer at his plan I found three leadership tests I believe every leader should be able to pass.
How do we treat those who can do nothing for us?
During the interview process, Bettinger takes the person out to eat. Once they get there, he has the waiter intentionally mess up the candidate’s order. This is something pre-arranged so that he can see how the person responds.
How do you respond when your order is not correct?
As Christian leaders, when we treat those who can do nothing for us with gentleness and respect, we show how we much we have become like Jesus. Getting bent out of shape at a restaurant when something isn’t right can be a thermometer for our souls. We may say we love and honor people but how we treat them when something doesn’t go our way shows the truth of those statements.
Do we blame others for our failures?
Another surprising thing this CEO does is ask about people’s greatest failures instead of just their most significant accomplishment. Whom they blame for their failures reveals what is in their heart.
As leaders, we need to be able to take responsibility for our own role in the problems we face. Even if our part is only 1% of the problem, when we take responsibility we learn and grow. When we blame others we stunt our growth, not there’s.
Some leaders act as if an apology would indict them or disqualify them from leadership. The reality is owning mistakes grants you credibility. I am always more afraid of what a perfect leader is hiding than what an authentic leader reveals.
Is our success limited to only what benefits ourselves?
Another story Bettinger shares was from when he was in college, and he failed a test that ruined his perfect 4.0. The test only had one question on it, “What is the name of the person who cleans this building?” It turns out her name was, “Dottie.”
Do you know the Dotties in your life?
Lasting success is not based on what benefits only ourselves. Real success is helping people find theirs. We do not gain loyalty from those we lead through our great achievements (although it may appear that way at first), but by helping them accomplish great things with our help.
What score would you get on this leadership test? What are some other tests every leader should pass? I’d love to hear from you!
Here are a couple of my favorite books along the lines of character and what really matters in leadership: