How can I test a person has strong leadership skills?

I am looking for a Cofounder that is on an equity sharing basis. How do I know that this person will be a strong leader and is good at execution? Is there a way to test their skills and check whether he/she possesses a growth mindset?

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For me it is time and actions. It is a gut feeling on how they act and react to certain situations. There is no written test or verbal group of questions.


I have started my business 2 years ago. There were several people who offered to invest in my business. I based my selection of the right partners based on these 3 criteria:

1) Do we share the same vision? - Is he interested only in making money or does he share my vision, believes that we can make that vision happen and is willing to take risks and do/give whatever it takes to realize that vision.

A good leader is one who can influence others to work together to in other to achieve a common goal (vision).

How can we lead the team or the whole organization if we are not passionate about the same thing.

My question was: Why would you like to engage in (this) business? Why are you passionate about this business opportunity?

2) Do we share the same values? - People make decisions, deal with conflicts, and behave based on their set of values. Building a startup is not an easy job. Your first 5 years are the most cruicial ones. It will test your character and endurance. The least you'd like to deal with is a partner you cannot get along with.

A good leader has a strong set of values. You cannot predict what would come your way. Great leaders do not necessarily know everything but they know how to deal with every situation they find themselves in.

If you can identify your potential partner's values, you will have an idea of how he will address issues, make decisions, deal with people and lead the organization.

Of course we can make a long list of characteristics of an effective leader but in choosing a Co-founder, I would suggest you focus on "compatibility" in vision & values. Skills can be learned/developed.

Have a few informal meetings to get to know each other. Don't ask questions as if you are interviewing him for a job. Pay attention to what he/she relates to you - past experiences both professional and personal, future plans, etc.

Pretty Hagad
President - Global Connections BPO Services, Inc.


Hi Harsh,
It's a great question. How do you know, without exposure and or damage.
One way is to place the candidate, under stress during the Interview, just to see how they react.
Such things as interruptions, having them wait, or having them repeat themselves, or explain themselves further.

Another way is via physiological profiling.
there are many different websites which offer psychological testing.
One such site, which not only provides self analysis testing, but also handy information relating to many different aspects is a site called
Mind Tools.

Maybe if you are looking to your best fit, you could ask then final 3 to undertake some type of test or tests.

Good luck,


It starts with thoughtful thinking about the role and the results you are looking for . Ideally behavioral interviewing is effective if you have given though on the road map and follow up questions . Tell me about a time when you ... That's where you start with follow-up questions and look for examples that model the traits you are looking for . ( Pay attention for real examples instead of theory ) . It's all in the follow up detailed examples .


Work with the person for a month or two on a "let's see how this will work basis" and make your evaluation. If the candidate had any sense he/she would want the same thing. I would.

And how to negotiate with him? He would require a pay/equity and if the compatibility fails, costs / financial loss may rise primarily because of forex burden .


Just look at their track record. What have they accomplished and seen through to completion?


If you need to ask, may be you lack some confidence and/or leadership skills yourself. You need to know exactly what you are looking for in your co-founder. Start by asking what are the skill sets that you need to complement you and your business?


The best way to test a person for strong leadership skills is to give him a particularly difficult mission, hand him minimum resources and see how he accomplishes his mission under pressure. That will put his leadership skills to severe test


You are looking for a perfect fit; so it seem to me, and methodical analysis and questioning can actually get you someone who fits into your ideal. But, do you have these tall orders, demands, and askings you are desiring from another person? Are you my friend, "a leader"? If you are a leader, then, you shall know when you come across 'the one' you are looking for without reading books. If you are not, then you must start working hard at being one. If you do not heed this seeming philosophical advice, then sooner than you realize, you'll come to know and see that the one whom you seek now is in the know that he/she demands your followership. Do not wait my friend, to discovering later that money and ideas do not make a leader; but patience, hardwork, diligence, and discipline will eventually get you there.


Hi, you may like to ask one question to the prospective partner. " If our company runs into a situation of bankruptcy, what would you do ? My experience is that a strong leader will suggest solutions and will take the situation as a challenge and suggest various possibilities to revive. Weak leaders may just suggest to quit and suggest to submit to chapter 11.

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