As a business leader, you are likely to have an idea of what leadership attributes are most important to you. But have you ever wondered what matters most to your employees? The Center for Management and Organization Effectiveness (CMOE) surveyed more than 1,000 employees from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies to uncover the leadership attributes that matter most. Here are the top three leadership attributes identified in our study:
1. Communicating Effectively
On CMOE’s survey, 46 percent of respondents—that’s nearly half—reported that clear communication was their top priority in a supervisor or manager. Employees value leaders who are clear and direct, especially when delivering difficult news or constructive feedback. Effective communication can convey competence, instill confidence, offer support, and solve problems. If you want to improve as a leader, starting with this leadership attribute will mean the most to your employees and coworkers.
2. Integrity and Openness
A leader’s personal conduct and morality can set the tone for a workplace, and that’s why 30 percent of survey respondents most valued honesty, integrity, and openness in their leadership team. Employees will lose confidence in leaders who break or bend the rules or engage in inappropriate actions or behaviors. Your conduct in your personal life, along with how well you live and work according to the values of your organization, affect your employees and how much they respect you.
Leaders need to know their stuff according to 20 percent of survey respondents. Employees expect leaders to be examples they can learn from. According to CMOE’s study, intelligence, experience, knowledge, ability, and capacity were all words used to describe important leadership attributes and what they expect from their leaders. Employees will look up to a leader they find competent, seek their advice, and rise to their expectations.
No matter how long you’ve been a leader, there’s always room for improvement in your leadership skills. Our research highlights the most important areas of improvement and reveals which leadership attributes are most important to the people you lead. Knowing where to improve is the first step; true change and growth will take motivated, sustained effort over time.
Are you ready to make some changes? Discover the remaining leadership attributes that employees identified as the most important as well as research and experienced-based tips to help you develop and apply each leadership trait. For more information, download our CMOE Leadership Attributes Study full report.