Evaluating Your Leaders
(A Seven- Trait Test)
“In the end, it’s all about your people.”
The quote above was my answer to a question from the floor of a seminar I was running on building a successful, valuable and transferable business. Through conversations with over 1000 business owners and their trusted advisors, this one key element has come through qualitatively as the most important bedrock for company success. Get your people right and the likelihood of your success skyrockets. Unfortunately the reverse is also true regardless of the strength of your company position, product or service.
qualities then, should the business owner or executive be looking for and expecting with their employees? I submit for your consideration a compilation of traits drawn from both my experience in my role as both Fortune 500 operating executive and mentor and coach to over 100 privately held businesses. Someone who exhibits these in the majority is a leader and employee to be cherished!
1. I have high confidence that you have the leadership skills & commitment necessary to lead your team to where we want to be in three years.
Gretsky has often been quoted as saying that his job was to pass the puck to where his teammate was going to be, not where they are. Great leaders know both things. They understand where the company is going and can work to get their team there.
2. You understand that leadership development, including your own, is a continuous learning exercise. You are dedicated to development…yours and the others in the organization.
The best role model is someone who shows they care about leadership development and starts with themselves to prove it.
3. I have confidence that you and your team will execute brilliantly. In the end, great strategy doesn’t make for success. It’s about great execution and attention to detail.
4. You come with solutions, not problems. Great leaders take it on themselves and their organizations to deliver when the business turns sideways.
5. You exercise great judgement, and can focus you and your organization on the right things at the right time.
There will always be a myriad of things needing to be accomplished included in which are things less critical. Great leadership requires strict priority is given to those things that are important to the longer term success of the business in favor of the imminent but less critical.
6. You have a sense of urgency that matches the business situation.
7. I’d trust you to meet with our most critical constituencies in my absence.