When identifying leadership attributes, the personal traits of integrity and fairness are rated higher than any other by both working professionals and C-suite executives.
“Business leaders who display a high level of integrity within the workplace and who treat their staff with respect can maximise the efforts of the team they lead. While acting with integrity and mutual respect are crucial elements of managing a team, having good business acumen and driving the business’s bottom line by attracting investors and customers are also vital leadership traits in today’s competitive market,” says David Jones, Senior Managing Director of Robert Half Asia Pacific.
Listed below are some of the key attributes that make for an effective leader:
Leaders who demonstrate fairness are thought of more highly by their peers, which in turn can lead to a more confident workforce. And in most instances, confidence is extremely contagious within a workplace, which will help employees become inspired in the work that they do.
“However, it’s important for leaders not to overcompensate with self-confidence as there’s a fine line between being confident and overconfidence. Overconfident leaders can fast lose their credibility. It’s still important to for business leaders to remain humble in their approach for not only managing people, but also inspiring them into a collaborative mindset to match their company’s agenda.”
While the more personable skills of integrity and fairness are rated higher, being decisive and strategic in the workplace is also considered to be an essential skill to embody and an integral part of the process of attaining a high leadership position.
After integrity and fairness, 37 percent of workers and 22 percent of CFOs rate decisiveness as one of the most important attributes in a corporate leader, followed by 32 percent of workers and CFOs respectively who say a strategic mindset is among the most important traits.
Nicole Gorton, Director, Robert Half Australia said: “Success breads momentum. Successful leaders have to be decisive and be able to show strength in order to set the standard of work they expect from their employees. Employees need their managers and company leaders to make difficult decisions if necessary and ensure the company delivers on business objectives and goals. This level of decisiveness and strategic thinking is essential to the success of a business.”
“It’s important to remember that showing strength within the workplace does not include domineering and dismissive behaviour, traits that will not ensure a loyal following. Employees are far more likely to go the extra mile and deliver favourable results when their boss leads by example.”
See: Balancing Leadership Techniques to Become a More Effective Leader
The leadership traits of transparency and accessibility come down to developing and maintaining open lines of communication and interpersonal communication. This includes being able to effectively communicate with staff at all levels is what distinguishes an effective leader from the pack.
Successful leaders are open with their staff and they are available when their employees have a pressing issue. One in three CFOs (33 percent) and one in four (25 percent) workers rate transparency as one of the most essential leadership attributes, followed by 33 percent of CFOs and 23 percent of workers who identify accessibility as being one of the most important skills.
Andrew Morris, Director Robert Half Australia said: “Confidence is at the core of leaders who effectively communicate within the workplace. Being able to convey complex ideas and set a game plan for employees to achieve their goals would inevitably result in a more productive workplace. Effective communicators are able to project their vision to the staff and help identify the necessary steps to achieving that vision.”
“Leaders who are excellent communicators are also able to explain how their staff members’ work impacts the company’s objectives, which will help them feel connected to the company’s future success. Employees who have a solid understanding of the direction of their company are generally more engaged and productive.”
While rated lower than previously mentioned personal attributes, workplace collaboration and being competitive are essential leadership qualities of any professional, traits that are also required for companies to remain viable.
Finally, 39 percent of CFOs and 20 percent of workers rate a collaborative mindset as one of their most important leadership qualities, followed by 30 percent of CFOs and only 10 percent of workers who think competitiveness is one of the most important leadership traits.
Andrew Brushfield, Director, Robert Half Victoria and Western Australia said: “Leaders who take a collaborative approach with their staff will be more successful at engaging their employees. People are particularly sensitive to signs of trustworthiness in a leader, and employees are more likely to perform exceptionally well in their role when they believe in the work they are doing. Every task within a workplace, from the day-today operational tasks to strategic planning, requires a certain amount of trust and collaboration in order for the employee to feel inspired and engaged.”
“Exceptional leaders have the ability to motivate and inspire their staff to the point where their employees are willing to go above and beyond, and not just because they enjoy the work they do, but because they believe in the company’s vision. This can be displayed through a healthy amount of competitiveness. It takes a true leader to be able to inspire this amount of dedication. In essence, it is through a leader’s actions that leadership becomes clear to the team.”
Also read: Key Secrets to Becoming an Effective Leader: Influence Personal Impact and Presence
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