There are a lot of different perspectives on what makes a good leader. Some people believe good leaders are born; others believe leadership can be taught. Like most things in the workplace, good leadership has evolved.
The authoritarian ‘lead and follow’ style of management of the past has given way to a more consultative, collaborative way of working with – and getting results through – people.
During the job search and recruitment process, job seekers are becoming more and more discerning about the leadership style of the person they will be reporting to.|
According to the Indeed Job Happiness Index 2016, Leadership style is the #2 consideration impacting job happiness (after work-life balance).
While the definition of a good leader may vary from one organisation to the next, there are some common traits in leadership literature – and in the conversations we have with job seekers about what they look for in a leader.
So, what makes a great leader? Here are the top 5 things people look for:
A leader who listens as much as they talk
Most great leaders in history were talented orators. They ‘held audience’ with their people and delivered great speeches that motivated and inspired.While being a strong communicator is an important leadership trait, good communication is as much about listening as it is talking.
A study by leadership training provider Dale Carnegie showed that 88% of people valued ‘being heard by the boss’. The simple act of listening to your people will create respect, trust, engagement and loyalty.
Listening isn’t just an important leadership trait – it’s good business.Creating an environment that encourages people to share their ideas could uncover the next brilliant initiative that your business might need.
A leader who shows appreciation and gives recognition
Although great work is often a team effort, good leaders will always credit their team members for their individual ideas, contributions and achievements. Showing appreciation doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or an expensive reward-based exercise.
For many people, a simple ‘well done’ or ‘thank you’ is powerful.
A good leader will never take credit for their team’s initiatives and achievements – without giving the appropriate recognition.
A leader who is adaptable
Leaders need to be flexible enough to adapt their style to suit the people they are working with. According to a study conducted by the University of Melbourne’s Business School, leaders who show a high degree of flexibility in their approach receive better satisfaction ratings from their teams.
A big part of a flexible leadership approach is giving people autonomy. According to bestselling author and speaker on business, work and human behaviour Daniel Pink, autonomy—the urge to direct our own lives—is one of the most important things that motivates people.
Pink believes that people don’t engage when they are being ‘managed’, they engage when they work with a flexible leader who allows them to be self-directed.Of course, the degree of flexibility and autonomy required will depend on many things —but perhaps the best leaders are chameleons who can adapt to be whatever their team needs.
A leader who practices honest and transparent communication
If a leader wants to built trust—and the ability to achieve results through their people—transparency and honesty in communication is essential.
People want to know where they stand, what’s happening and how your decisions might impact them. An ‘open door policy’ isn’t about physical walls and doors—it’s a leadership style that’s essential to an open and engaged workplace.
Like communication, integrity is an important quality for all good leaders.And when it comes to communication, transparency and honesty are crucial—especially when things aren’t rosy at work.
A leader who is consistent
Consistency is perhaps the most important trait of a great leader. Whatever leadership style or techniques each leader employs, the most important thing is that they employ them in a consistent manner.
In 2013, the New York Times lifted the long-time shroud of secrecy surrounding Google’s recruitment and hiring processes. In that interview, Google’s Senior VP of People Operations Laszlo Bock said that consistency of leadership is one of the most important things that employees value.
While being ‘predictable’ might not seem like an attractive trait, in the fast-paced and ever-changing world in which we live and work, an element of predictability and consistent leadership will provide the stability that people need to thrive and achieve both individual and organisational goals.
Kingston Human Capital specialise in helping great leaders recruit and build great teams. If you’d like further assistance with your recruitment strategy, feel free to contact us.
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