Any time you hire a new employee, it’s a big deal. You need to take your time and do your due diligence or you’ll end up wasting time and money. This is exponentially more important when you’re hiring a manager or somebody who will be in a position of leadership. While a great leader will get the best from his or her employees, a poor leader can ruin your entire operation. I’ve seen businesses set back months or even years as a consequence of placing the wrong people in leadership positions.

Today we cover several traits to look for when you’re hiring a leader:

Honesty. This one is obvious, so let me just state that if you can’t absolutely trust your managers and leaders, you’re sunk. Make sure you examine each candidate’s resume in depth—look for anything that doesn’t seem right and investigate. Call all references and specifically ask whether or not the candidate is trustworthy.

The ability to inspire. A good leader make people want to follow him or her.  Leaders that inspire are priceless because they are certain to get the most out of their employees. If you leave an interview with a candidate feeling bored and unenthused, they’re probably not the right hire.

Vision. A candidate may have all the personal qualities you’re looking for, but if they aren’t forward-thinking, what is the point? A good leader can evaluate the present situation, set appropriate goals, and figure out how to achieve them.

Passion. Your leaders need to be passionate about what they do.  Let’s face it, some days you just don’t feel like coming to work. But you do, and you work hard and effectively because you are passionate about your business. The leaders of your company need to share this passion. Employees will feed off the emotions of their supervisors and if your leaders are not passionate about their jobs, you can’t expect your employees to be.

Excellent communication skills. A candidate that meets every requirement on your checklist but can’t communicate effectively should not be considered for leadership. You need to be able to clearly communicate with your leadership team and trust that they will clearly communicate with their employees. This includes verbal and written communications.

Hiring leaders for your company is perhaps the most important decision you will make as a business owner.  Make sure that you take your time and perform your due diligence before making any decisions.  If you can’t find somebody that meets the criteria listed above, keep looking!