10 Characteristics of Effective Leaders

A woman leading a group meeting on thinking

Leadership is more than a skill set

Strategic leadership requires a complex integration of skills, knowledge, personality, and mindset attributes. In addition to having strong decision-making skills, effective leaders share certain common traits. They are driven to accomplish goals and they can energize and motivate an entire organization.

In times of crisis, the mental disciplines (like adaptability, integrity, and commitment) of leaders are even more important. Change management requires the consistent internal motivation to engage problems and make decisions by applying reasoning skills. Strong thinkers are motivated to tackle problems by gathering the best information, analyzing potential costs against potential gains—and then making a well-reasoned decision. Effective leaders remain open to the possibility that they may need to reverse course, or even chart a new course. 

Ten core leadership attributes of successful leaders

Every day, leaders and decision-makers need to be:

  1. Driven:  committed to the vigorous pursuit of professional excellence, with a consuming internal demand to achieve the vision of the organization.
  2. Discerning:  displays courage and objectivity in decision making. When making difficult decisions, they tend to ask the tough questions, to follow reasons and evidence wherever it takes them.  They give due consideration to competing points of view.
  3. Innovative:  have an appetite for innovation, see change as an opportunity for growth, are resilient agents of change in fast paced or fluid environments.
  4. Foresightful:  alert to potential difficulties, always striving to foresee consequences, ready to use reasoning and fact-finding to resolve difficulties and foreseeable problems.
  5. Judicious:  shows maturity and thoughtfulness in decision-making. They recognize that some problems are ill-structured, that, often, there is more than one reasonable option, and that poor decisions should be dispassionately revisited.
  6. Incisive:  capable of making those strategic decisions that are tough, but necessary to achieve the organization’s mission.
  7. Tolerant: respects diversity in the workplace, including showing due respect for different perspectives, opinions, and suggestions.
  8. Honorable:  conduct themselves with integrity, honesty, ethics and truthfulness in communication and behavior.
  9. Motivational:  capable of inspiring an entire organization, moving it forward with enthusiasm and energy, motivating others to give their best.
  10. Professional:  limits socializing to that which is necessary to get the job done. They take an appropriate and professional approach to social interactions at work. They understand that professionalism is vital to maintaining a proper focus on work responsibilities, facilitating collaboration, and providing positive leadership.

Leaders at Every Level

To achieve and sustain high levels of success, organizations need effective leaders at every level. These are people who are motivated to tackle problems by gathering the best information, analyzing potential costs against gains, and making a well-reasoned decision. The best leaders will be able to make decisions in times of risk and uncertainty and then motivate and empower their team to act.

Identify Leadership Potential

INSIGHT Executive – Decision-Making Skills and Executive Mindset measures leadership attributes and decision skills at the highest corporate/organizational levels including C-Suite executives, upper management, division heads, senior officers, directors, and vice presidents. INSIGHT Business Pro – Reasoning Skills and Mindset measures decision-making skills and thinking mindset of supervisory, and managerial level employees who are expected to exercise independent professional judgement within their area of responsibility.

INSIGHT Business Staff – Workplace Problem Solving and Work Ethic measures decision-making skills and thinking mindset of staff members who are expected to exercise a degree of problem-solving and second judgement within their assigned area of responsibility. The INSIGHT Business Staff is the instrument of choice for evaluating a wide variety of key organizational employees including departmental work team leaders, project managers, office assistants, first line supervisors, retail bank tellers, clerks, schedulers, dispatchers, helpdesk personnel, CSRs, aides, executive secretaries, etc.

INSIGHT Support – Workplace Thinking Skills and Work Ethic measures thinking skills and work ethic of support and services personnel. The instrument is designed for use with office assistants, retail salesclerk, hotel and restaurant staff, seasonal workers, custodial staff, maintenance operations staff, warehouse workers, transport drivers, assembly line staff, delivery service workers, construction workers, and other employees who are expected to solve problems within the context of an organization’s standard operating procedures.

Learn More:

5 Decisions Making Skills for Successful Leaders

10 Great Critical Thinking Questions Effective Leaders Ask

 

Contact us or call 650-697-5628 to identify the potential leaders among your current employees and job applicants who are ready to move your company forward. 

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