Choosing the Right Leader: A How-to Guide

How to Choose a Leader

We often thirst for meaning and direction in our lives and workplaces. So choosing the right leaders for your organization is essential. They’re the individuals that others will look up to, listen to, and use as examples—or will ignore or despise, if they’re chosen poorly. 

That’s why it’s vital to learn to choose leaders based on the attributes that have been demonstrated to make great leaders, and spending enough time with these individuals to make sure they consistently evince these qualities.

Are You Picking the Right Leaders?

Many people in our society assume that leaders fit a certain image and act in a certain way, but they are often wrong. Six qualities or abilities that are often mistakenly used to choose leaders are: 

  1. Getting Along With Teams: Managers who rely too much on being liked by and agreeing with teams may not think independently enough to be top leaders.
  2. Extraordinary Public Speaking Skills: This ability can be developed through coaching and is less valuable than interpersonal relationship skills.
  3. Operational Problem-Solving Abilities: Being excellent at day-to-day operations may not prepare a leader to create long-term strategies or to make tough decisions with little information.
  4. Hunger to Succeed: Personal ambition does not predict true leadership success as much as humility and empathy do. 
  5. Close Personal Management: Rather than staying overly involved in others’ work, leaders should delegate tasks and empower others to make decisions on their own. 
  6. Having Qualities in Common: It’s easy to choose leaders who are similar to yourself in background, gender, nationality, and so on. But they’re more likely to succeed if they display the leadership abilities discussed below.

What Are the Top Qualities of a Leader?

As the leader of your organization, you want the right executive in the right position at the right time, doing all the right things. You want an innovative executive who has vision and the courage to take calculated risks. You need someone who can motivate and inspire, raise productivity, increase quality, and lower turnover and absenteeism. Just as importantly, you want someone who will be able to rise to any crisis or disaster with speed, integrity, strength, and creativity.

The Best Qualities for Choosing a Leader

But what personal qualities should leaders possess? What traits allow them to accomplish these and other objectives? The best qualities for choosing the right leader include: 

  • Self-Awareness: A healthy dose of self-awareness helps leaders improve their own performance over time.
  • Humility: Humble leaders can accept criticism, apologize, value disagreements, and more.
  • Prudence: Rather than taking bold risks, prudent leaders take extra time to have smart backup plans, which protect the organization.
  • Intelligence: Great leaders use their IQs to continuously learn what they need to in order to improve their teams.
  • Empathy: Leaders need to care about what is good for others, but it’s easy to instead promote mean, narcissistic people.
  • Accountability: You should be able to trust leaders to consistently follow through on their promises. They should have proven many times that they have this quality. 
  • Decision-Making Skills: Great candidates have shown they are better at making smart decisions than the average team member.
  • Vision: Teams need leaders who help others understand the meaning and value of their work, along with the big picture of what the organization is creating.

The Need to Craft Leadership Qualities

You know someone with all the right qualities isn’t going to just pop into your office. This kind of executive is not born overnight, rather developed over time, trials, and experience. By developing leaders early on with an Executive Leadership Development Program, you will build a bench of up-and-coming executives ready to step in at a moment’s notice.

As a result of preparing your employees, you will already have a sense of who the future leaders will be, what their quirks are, and where their strengths and weaknesses lie. An Executive Leadership Development experience can be customized to give these team members the necessary tools and skills to become that powerful and influential executive you are searching for through programs such as:

  • Applied Strategic Thinking
  • Business Planning and Strategy
  • Conflict and Collaboration
  • Delegation and Accountability
  • Qualities of Leadership

Through these opportunities, leaders will be equipped with the capabilities to personally discover and build upon their strengths, unearth solutions to deeper problems, and confront and overcome their weaknesses. These future leaders will immediately apply their new skills in their workplaces and on their teams, building team member’s confidence and abilities. When promotion time arrives, you will already know the best executive for the job. You will be surrounding yourself with a staff of the “right” executives ready to meet and surpass your expectations.

Develop Your Leaders 

CMOE has made it a priority to consider the various types of adult learning styles that make up the foundational structures in our workshops. As a result, we have a variety of learning methodologies that enable participants to become engaged, excited, and active participants in the learning process. Some specific methodologies tailored to executive development are:

  • Experiential exercises
  • Case studies and skill practice sessions
  • Real-world situations
  • Video or live demonstrations

CMOE also provides another key tool designed particularly for executives called one-on-one executive coaching. By providing your leaders with a personal coach and then instilling within them the desire to do likewise with others, you will accelerate your executive leadership development and quickly build a bench of professionals, full of the “right” men and women. Innovative executives with a vision can motivate and inspire others to higher productivity, enhanced quality, and a genuine pride and accountability in their tasks.

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About the Author

Martha Rice