As business leaders, we want to recruit and retain the best and brightest team members to execute on our strategic vision. But are we looking at the right factors when building our executive leadership team? Do we really know what makes great leaders in today’s environment?
I’ve worked with leadership teams throughout my career — from building great, highly effective teams at Shelter Mortgage to all the companies I work with in my current role as a Strategic Business Coach. I’ve noticed five common traits in the most successful executive teams, and I share them below as the “Secrets of a Genuine Leader.”
We could start with integrity, intelligence and emotional maturity. But these are merely givens — qualities that just give you a seat at the table. True leaders have so much more:
- The ability to energize and inspire others. Leaders need to exude positive energy and maintain an upbeat attitude — they can face any challenge, see the bright side and keep the rest of the team motivated and forward-thinking.
- They need to have an edge. True leaders are decisive. They can make the tough calls — it’s either yes or no, not maybe. And they’re willing to take risks. It’s OK to fail. It’s not OK to be so risk averse that nothing ever progresses.
- They have a commitment to execute. The most effective leaders know how to get stuff done. They understand the importance of prioritization, execution, continuous improvement and accountability.
- They have passion and purpose. Genuine leaders care deeply about the work they’re doing and truly believe in your company’s vision and bigger purpose. If they’re just going through the motions, they’re doing more harm than good.
- They’re lifelong learners. The best leaders are committed to personal growth and improvement and see every experience as a learning opportunity. They have a strong willingness to be coached and, likewise, enjoy mentoring others.
Team leaders who share these traits will be more aligned, effective and efficient — and their positive energy will propel the entire organization. On the flipside, lack of these traits may lead to negative company results--stagnant growth, unwanted turnover and poor financial performance.
How do you rate each member of your leadership team? What’s your next step in building these qualities in your leaders? Remember, it always starts at the top!