nontraditional questions to ask potential leaders

I come bearing more half-sketched thoughts.

With power comes responsibility, and I was thinking about how we as a community often give power to people because we like them (just as a person) or the work they do. But we don’t often think about (or ask) if this person will use this power well, or how they will use this power.

I’d also love to do a similar checklist or questions for community members to self-reflect on the people we choose to give power to, but IDK anything more beyond that.

In the meanwhile, here are some questions that are on my mind:

  • What does success in this position look like?
  • Why do you want this position?
  • What is your understanding of the compensation and/or benefits you will receive along with this position? (And then some kind of follow-up question getting at the idea if you’re a rich millionaire, you don’t really need this salary, so do something else with it.)
  • What does just and/or effective power look or feel like to you?
  • How will ___ be different by the time you depart?
  • What are your plans after this leadership?
  • How will you strive to share power? Or even give it away when you step back?
  • How do you treat wait/service staff?
    • (I’d love to make this a less leading question; feel free to make suggestions! Thanks Octavia for pointing that out.)
    • Please provide a reference from the restaurant you most recently ate at.
  • Do you have people in your life who will hold you accountable – to yourself, your values, and us – both in public and in private? What allows them to do so? Do you pause and reflect when these people check you?
  • When was the last time you were wrong? How did you realize you were wrong? What did you do after this realization?
  • Have you ever changed your mind or action as a result of someone checking you? Tell us about it.
  • Who can we go to when we have concerns or questions about you? Please select folks who you will listen and heed.
  • How do you react when people tell you “no”? Tell me about a time someone told you “no.”
  • Who are some of the people who’ve helped get you here?

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