3 qualities of a good leader

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A leader is someone who engages the team, genuinely cares about the people and emits a positive attitude, according to our new chairman Chris Sykes.

We’ve all been there. On the receiving end of “constructive feedback”. Truth is, it doesn’t always leave us feeling so “constructed”. The word “demolished” can better describe the feeling at times.

Leaders need to know how to walk the feedback tightrope, stressed Chris during a leadership workshop. As we discussed the impact of certain leadership choices on people’s work performance, he turned to the whiteboard and wrote:

Positive thinking

We looked at it, our eyes settling on the last digit - a glaring mistake. The replies were 75 per cent correct, yet all we could see was that one mistake. The message: Fair and accurate feedback that focuses on a person’s strengths is the most effective way or giving performance feedback. This leads to better performance.

“The idea is to emit mental positivity. Don’t be a 15. Look at the 1, 4, 9s. You’ve got to focus on the people,” says Chris, founder and chief executive of our UK partner Volume Global.

And what do those people expect from their leader? What’s the most important leadership trait? When Chris asked us to pick from a list of options, many of us agreed: drawing people together with a shared vision.

And we were sort of right. This is a very important leadership quality. But it’s not the one trait employees feel most passionate about.

Genuine concern

People want a leader who genuinely shows concern. “They want to know that, if you say you care, you actually do understand when they have to take time off because their dog is sick,” says Chris.

People also want leaders who can communicate, network and achieve - giving them a sense of job security. They want someone who can trust them to lead - because they want to feel involved. Other sought-after traits include honesty and consistency, accessibility and flexibility and being decisive and ready to take risks.

Once all these boxes are ticked, the ultimate result is a leader who can draw people together with a shared vision. “To get to that point you have to get through these other attributes,” he says.

The power of engagement

During the workshop we looked at different types of leadership. Sitting around the boardroom table, we all agreed with the style on the top righthand corner - a form of leadership that engages people, allows them the freedom to challenge creatively.

“This is bounded empowerment, which means that everyone in the business has full visibility and understanding of our business values and vision,” Chris explains adding: “An engaged team means better results. Keep in mind that our ultimate goal is the satisfied customer. It’s all connected.”