Leadership qualities are a popularly quoted skill on candidate resumes. But it’s also something candidates look for when assessing a potential new workplace.
Good leadership can be difficult to measure, and a seasoned candidate will be able to recognise the kind of leader that creates a more amiable work environment, or one that borders a little on tyranny.
Great leaders all have some things in common. They’re able to navigate through tough challenges and their teams can look to them for direction.
Regardless of the nature of the company, there are some universal traits team leaders must seek to emulate if they are leading a team.
- Giving Credit where its due
At any one time, there’s probably a lawsuit occurring due to uncredited ideas, inventions, artworks etc.
Notwithstanding legal considerations, employees do need more than a sympathetic ear. They need to know they’ll be credited for their idea, even if all they might need is a shout-out at the next meeting.
Having a work environment which fosters experimentation or committing time to create a company “ideas channel”, are some of the best ways to uncover new innovations and opportunities for your company.
Although if coming up with great ideas and elevating them is a part of your company’s growth process, you probably don’t have to worry about this.
- Listening Genuinely
When it comes to leaders who can listen, there is a clear unmet need in the workforce. Despite being a priority for 88 percent of surveyed employees, only 60 percent of those employees felt their current leader or boss exhibited that trait.
This realisation in your workforce may be a prickly one. In all honesty, it means you need the right people as leaders, even if it isn’t necessarily yourself. The leader you want speaking and listening for your company are the ones that work most closely with the greatest number of people.
“To be able to motivate and inspire others, you need to learn how to listen in both individual meetings and at the group level,” Christine Riordan, a leadership coach and president-elect of Adelphi University, told the Harvard Business Review.
Being a better listener results in higher levels of trust and greater feelings of closeness. Good listeners don’t plan out what they’re going to say while someone else is talking. Instead, they wait patiently to hear everything the speaker has to say, and frame their response accordingly.
There’s a strong measurable value in leaders who know how to listen, such as creating a healthy environment for the generation of potentially great and profitable ideas.
- The Ability to adapt to their team
The University of Melbourne’s Business School conducted a study on the importance of flexibility in leadership, and found that leaders who exhibit flexibility receive higher ratings from their peers when it comes to behavior and performance. These individuals are also more satisfied with their teams.
There is a lot of information written about good leaders who surrounded themselves with people who brought new perspective and who usually worked in a different way to them. In other words, a great leader might do well to become a chameleon of sorts amongst their team.
This does depend largely on the work style of the company. Within reason, a leader should give their team members space to discover the processes, workflows, schedules and tools that work best for them.
The result is a rigorous individuality in how your employees pursue their work and a preservation of team harmony.
It also means a management strategy subtly tailor-made one for each person on the team.
Integrity means treating everybody with respect uncompromisingly, not cutting corners, and maintaining a certain zeal for life even when not everything is ideal.
No matter what line of work you are in, employees need to know their leaders are as invested in what’s occurring as they expect their employees to be.
If you are a leader of a company, you will know what it took to get you to that position. Your passion for your work will need to translate across to your employees. Ask yourself why you are passionate about what you do?
Failing that, how can you go about cultivating a better love for what you do, even if you don’t feel inclined toward it?
Employees require a (realistic) grander picture that they can really count on.
You have a vision for the company and you want them to have one, too — but that passion needs to be communicated using a richer language than benchmarks and earnings figures.
Presumably you want to leave a mark on the world of some form.
If that mark is hazy, indistinct or comes from a leader without a passion for what they do, it is unrealistic to expect the rest of the company to feel very invested either.
Speaking about that research to the New York Times, Google’s Senior VP of People Operations Laszlo Bock said: “We found that, for leaders, it’s important that people know you are consistent and fair in how you think about making decisions and that there’s an element of predictability. If a leader is consistent, people on their teams experience tremendous freedom, because then they know that within certain parameters, they can do whatever they want.”
Being predictable isn’t inherently sexy or exciting—but a good leader doesn’t need to be an action hero, they just need to drive a successful team.
In other words, think of leaders as an orchestra conductor who provides a consistent structure, keeping the team on track so everyone else can focus on doing what they do best.
Great leaders don’t necessarily need to inspire, they just need to set clear boundaries that allow others to find their own pace and flourish.
Leadership isn’t about power trickling down from the top—it’s about giving others the freedom to find that power within themselves.
If you’d like further assistance with your recruitment strategy, feel free to contact us.
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