Often times as companies, we find ourselves in the situation where we need to hire candidates for our leadership team and this is usually not an easy task. Specific executive profiles are especially hard to find and years of seniority or fancy titles alone are no guarantee of those candidates being the leadership talent you need. Since all leadership positions are different and therefore different experience and expertise is required, today we are looking at what leadership traits sets the best talent apart from the rest. Hence, if you are on the lookout for new executives for your leadership team, make sure you pay attention to these items in the selection process.
- Embrace feedback
Whereas some people get very defensive when their work is criticized or they receive feedback, great leaders embrace feedback and are not afraid to receive feedback. They take feedback to their advantage and do something positive with it. Even if they don´t agree with the feedback, they do receive it gracefully because they know that other people´s points of view, even if not correct, are important for their well-functioning with those persons and therefore they embrace every type of feedback they might get.
- Provide regular feedback
In addition to being good receivers of feedback, leadership talent also are good providers of feedback. They provide their team members and people they work with directly with useful feedback on a regular base. They don´t limit their feedback to formal performance review moments once or twice a year or limit themselves to the standard feedback phrases but they show their co-workers that they really pay attention and provide them with quality input which can be used for personal development purposes.
- Always looking to improve themselves and learn
This one is related to our first point of embracing feedback but great leadership talent is always looking to improve themselves, to develop themselves and to learn new things that may be relevant to their position. They are proactive in their professional and personal development and don´t wait for their manager or an HR person to tell them their development goals. They own their career and take responsibility for it. They don´t let the fact that they are leadership team get in the way of being lifelong learners and are eager to learn from the people around them, no matter their seniority. A good example of this could be learning from different generations where reverse mentoring is a great initiative. Great leaders know that they need to improve themselves first before they can improve their team.
- Taking responsibility and ownership for mistakes
Apart from owning their career and taking responsibility for it, great leaders also take complete responsibility for their work. And this also involves ownership for mistakes that might have been made in their department. Great leaders take the blame for any of these, no matter who in their team made them and no matter whether they actually knew about the situation or not.
- Lead by example and are not afraid to get their hands dirty
Great leadership talent always practices what they preach and lead by example. They are not requesting things from their team that they don’t do themselves and they are not afraid to get their hands dirty when the situation requires so. Normally they might not have to make the slides for the presentation themselves but when something urgent comes up, they are ready to step in where necessary.
These are just some examples of traits that set leadership talent apart from the rest, what other traits do you think are important? We would love to read about them in the comments section!