National Connections, Local Ownership
National Connections, Local Ownership

Eight Qualities That Make a Good Leader

Originally published in FleetOwner

It’s important that you have the right people in leadership positions in your company to ensure success and employee retention. Surveys have consistently shown that one of the top reasons employees leave their job is because of a bad boss.

I have written before on the difference between managers and leaders, and I want to further delve into the qualities you should look for when hiring leaders. A blog from Chelsea Verstegen, content strategist at Hireology, did a great job of summing up the characteristics of a good leader.

  1. Feedback. Good leaders are very receptive to receiving feedback because they know it helps them improve, and good leaders always want to become even better. In addition, because they are overseeing other people they need to be able to deliver feedback on a way that is positive and helps the employee grow and develop. That does not mean they do not point out areas of improvement, it just means that they do so in a way that is constructive and motivating.
  2. Good communications skills. Leaders need to be able speak in a clear and concise manner that ensures their message is received. They need to be able to tailor the message to their employees and also to other leaders in the organization. They also need to have an engaging personality since much of their job will depend upon them being able to connect with the people who work for them.
  3. Motivation and encouragement. You want leaders in our organization to focus on motivating and encouraging employee development. You want someone who can help employees develop their strengths as well as encourage them to make strides toward improving their weaknesses.
  4. Empathetic. A leader recognizes that things will not always go right and when a problem occurs, the leader needs to exhibit empathy while finding a way to correct the problem and prevent it from recurring.
  5. Admit when wrong. You will also want leaders who recognize they are not always right. You need leaders who are open to new information and who can admit when they are wrong. You want people in leadership positions who create an environment where employees feel comfortable disagreeing and presenting alternative solutions to problems or alternative ways of doing things.
  6. Development. When hiring leaders, look for people who have a track record of development even if they have not had prior leadership experience. You want to hire people who are concerned about continuing education or furthering their professional development.
  7. Focused under stress. We all know that being a leader can be stressful, so make sure to look for people who can stay composed and focus, even under stressful conditions.
  8. Independent. Leaders who can work independently so that you do not have to constantly be overseeing their work, but will also come to you for guidance when they run into a problem they cannot solve.

While this may seem like a long list of traits, the reality is that many of these qualities are connected and that if you find a candidate with one of the traits, he or she may also have several of the others.