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Leadership Traits and How to Spot a Future Leader in Your Organization

February 5, 2024

By: Jennifer Lucas

Finding and hiring talented leaders is critical to the success of a company. A strong and visionary leader provides direction, inspires innovation, and fosters a sense of purpose among team members. Effective leadership promotes a positive organizational culture, encourages collaboration, and helps navigate challenges by making informed decisions.

Leaders set the tone for the work environment, influencing employee morale, motivation, and productivity. Additionally, they play a crucial role in aligning the organization's goals with the individual aspirations of its members. Through effective communication and strategic decision-making, leaders can guide the organization toward its objectives, adapt to changing circumstances, and cultivate a resilient and adaptable workforce.

This is what a leader does, but what traits make a great leader?

At the Omnia Group, we’ve identified two core behavioral traits that are essential to successful leadership: Assertiveness and Independence.

Assertiveness can be expanded to include ambition, personal drive, a willingness to handle conflict, and comfort with some amount of risk.

Independence includes decisiveness, an ability to take action without guidelines, resilience to setbacks, big-picture orientation, a desire to innovate, and resilience to setbacks and criticism.

Effective leaders also have some critical soft skills, such as an ability to communicate effectively, sound judgment in words and actions, empathy for the people they lead and their customers, and a strong work ethic.

Finding someone who is all that (and more) can be tricky. In your recruitment efforts, you’ll need to look at previous successes, interview carefully, and listen for glowing references. Behavioral assessments, like the Omnia Custom and Target assessments, can help immensely in identifying someone with the drive and self-sufficiency you need. The Omnia Assessment also measures candidates’ stress, which can give you a heads up about potential shaky judgment.

With all that’s at stake in recruiting a leader, you’ll want to steer clear of shortcuts, with ONE exception:

Before looking outside your organization for your next leader, you may want to look a little closer to home.

Sometimes, the best place to find potential leaders is your current workforce. After all, who knows the ins and outs of your company better? Where else could you see the kind of traits you need in action?

Fortunately for you, finding them should be simple! Employees with an innate leadership drive are hard to keep in the background.

These future leaders show the behavioral traits and soft skills you need in their everyday actions.

They take initiative in their current roles and make suggestions for improvement but do not overstep boundaries. Leaders are not content with the status quo and are ready to make changes and eager to make things happen.

They work autonomously and think outside the box while respecting essential guidelines. Potential leaders do not need much day-to-day guidance and want to be free to try new things.

They make decisions without needing to confer with their managers or carefully review guidelines. While natural leaders are not reckless, they can handle the consequences if a decision does not work out right.

They build solid professional relationships. They might be outgoing and expressive or more serious and informative, but they know how to connect with people to get the job done. Future leaders are often respected and consulted by others on their team.

They consistently show good judgment in what they say and do on the job. These people make wise decisions, choose their words carefully, and maintain necessary confidentiality. A good manager does not overthink matters but is not impulsive or careless either.

Ask around, watch, and listen. You may not have to go far to find a leader who can help bring your organization to the next level.

Even if you don’t have any current plans to expand leadership, it’s a good idea to be on the look-out for innovators, risk-takers, and go-getters that are already in your ranks. You may not even have to look very hard; it’s likely they’ll seek you out! Consider reaching out to us to have your top performers take a Professional Development assessment to help identify and leverage strengths and mitigate challenge areas to guide them to success.

An exceptional leader embodies a combination of assertiveness, independence, effective communication skills, sound judgment, a robust work ethic, and genuine empathy. Recognizing a performer with this potential within your company not only saves recruiting effort and benefits the employee, but it’s also a strategic move that can significantly contribute to the organization's success. By identifying individuals with these qualities and providing them with the necessary opportunities and support, you can cultivate a dynamic leadership team that propels the company towards innovation and sustained growth.

Jennifer Lucas

Jennifer originally joined The Omnia Group in 2005 as an analyst. After a brief stint away to work in project management and to start a family, her fascination with behavioral assessments pulled her back. She returned in 2011 as a member of the in-house analyst/project team. She writes and edits Custom Profiles, Targets, special projects, and articles. She enjoys being able to provide guidance to build effective, productive teams and help find strong matches for both clients and candidates.

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