What good leaders do best

By
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/03/2001

A study of 420 mid- to large-sized firms across North America, by Management Research Group (www.mrg.com), came up with the factors that characterize exceptional leadership. More than 350 CEOs and 755 vice-presidents participated. They completed self assessments and were also evaluated by their bosses, peers and direct reports.

Exceptional leaders in order of importance:

•analyze the future impact of their decisions and understand the impact of these decisions throughout the organization;

•challenge the perceptions and mandates of superiors;

•use effective persuasion to build commitment to their ideas and initiatives;

•maintain a respectful distance from others, are not overly extroverted, friendly and informal;

•are comfortable being the one in charge and seek out opportunities to be influential, they know and accept the fact they will be under constant scrutiny;

•maintain an in-depth knowledge and expertise in their area; and

•clearly express their thoughts and ideas, keeping others informed of their expectations.

A similar study of HR professionals determined that superior HR managers:

•analyze the future impact of their decisions and understand the impact of these decisions throughout the organization;

•clearly express their thoughts and ideas, keeping others informed of their expectations;

•challenge the perceptions and mandates of superiors; and

•maintain in-depth knowledge and expertise in their area.

Another study of more than 25,000 HR leaders found they are different from other managers and leaders of other departments. HR leaders are:

•more likely to demonstrate active concern for their people and their needs;

•more extroverted, friendly and informal;

•more oriented toward building commitment by selling their ideas to others and spending time trying to win agreement;

•more energetic, with a capacity for keeping others enthusiastic and involved;

•less likely to adopt systematic or organized approaches to their work; and

•less willing to push vigorously to achieve results by being forceful or assertive.

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