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How to spot a leader? Ask her to lead

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Think of it as an extended interview. When Wendy Kopp, founder and CEO of Teach for America, considers someone for a leadership role, she goes beyond standard questioning to discover whether it’s a good fit.

“I used to hire people and then realize within two days whether someone was going to thrive or not,” Kopp says.

Now, “We just send them a bunch of stuff that they would get otherwise on their first day and say, ‘Here are the challenges of the day.’ And we ask them to write up their answers, and then actually engage with them deeply so that we understand whether they have the skills that a particular role is going to require,” she says.

What skills is she looking for? The same skills companies need most: visionary thinkers who set big goals and who own the responsibility for meeting them.

— Adapted from “Charisma? To Her, It’s Overrated,” Adam Bryant, The New York Times.

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