Effective leadership is one of the single most important drivers behind performance. Successful companies employ skilled leaders in every key position. CEOs know this and are in constant search of people who embody great leadership qualities and character.
But just what are the qualities of a good leader? What characteristics do CEOs look for in their leaders? Many studies have been done to decode the nature of leadership, and in these studies several recurrent findings emerge. Here are the top five leadership characteristics CEOs value most highly.
Leaders are constantly faced with the challenge of making decisions and solving problems. Good leaders can ask the right questions, compile information, process options, and apply analytical rigor to address the problems they face. Demonstrating your ability to make sound decisions, while working under pressure, will speak volumes in the eyes of a CEO.
Good leaders develop a vision. Great leaders, on the other hand, take this vision, bring it to life, and follow through on it - leading to real results and outcomes. It's one thing to be visionary, it's another thing to turn vision into results. Staying focused on outcomes, taking time to engage in priority setting, and getting to the roots of efficiency are all qualities of a leader that CEOs look for.
In the eyes of a CEO, an exemplary leader is one who is supports and cares about others. While this may seem simple, it is critical to the success of a company. A supportive leader will ensure that staff is engaged, happy, productive, and focused on achieving good results rather than preoccupied with worries, fears, or negative emotions.
If you can put aside your ego and genuinely listen to the perspectives and opinions of others, chances are you embody great leadership qualities. While leaders have to weed out the good ideas from bad, and ultimately make the final call, this decision-making process should include an honest assessment of a variety of paths and options. You never know who will come up with the next revolutionary idea.
Finally, you've no doubt heard the expression 'walk the talk'. This is critical for a good leader. To make an impression on a CEO, you need to genuinely believe in your work and carry the vision with you everywhere you go. It's fine to disagree and present divergent opinions, but unless you are truly excited about your company, chances are you're not the right fit for its next leader.
A skilled CEO always has their eyes and ears open when it comes to seeking out leaders. If you embody these five characteristics of a great leader, chances are you'll be noticed.