Have they stood for principle even when inconvenient?
Simply winning doesn’t mean someone is principled. You know someone has principles when they’re willing to follow those principles even when inconvenient and at a cost to themselves. You know someone has principles when they have rejected what is politically expedient for what is right, when they have had to tell their own supporters that they may disagree, or when they have shown the courage to admit they’re wrong about something.
Have they demonstrated an ability to work well with others?
No leader accomplishes anything worthwhile acting alone. Leaders know that collaboration is vital to problem solving. Does a candidate pride themselves on “going it alone”? If so, they likely don’t have a record of accomplishment to match their confidence. True leaders lift others up. They don’t spend all their time worrying about themselves.
Have they demonstrated an ability to problem-solve?
Ultimately, leadership is about solving problems. So often we elect people who describe problems, use them as wedges, and fire up their base to win elections. Instead, let’s look to those who understand their role is to solve problems through humble service defined by collaboration, clear-eyed approaches, and hard work.