What are the most important attributes you need as a leader? The Creative Group did a poll that indicated that 34% of executives felt strategic vision is the most essential quality for successful leadership. That poll was taken a few years ago, but I think it’s still worth thinking about today. In the poll, advertising and marketing executives were asked, “In your opinion, which single quality among the following is the most essential for effective leadership?” Their responses:
1. Strategic vision 34%
2. Strong interpersonal skills 29%
3. Integrity 29%
4. Creativity 3%
5. Intelligence 3%
6. Don’t know/other 2%
Turner goes on to describe the four most common mistakes that can undermine a manager’s credibility with employees:
• Deserting your team. Managers who fail to stand up for staff members when they’re unfairly criticized or when times are tough lose their employees’ trust.
• Sending mixed signals. If you’re receiving contradictory messages from a client or senior executives, you may be passing this confusion on to your team. Make sure you have all the facts, and be consistent in the direction you give. If parameters or goals change, explain why.
• Not giving credit where it’s due. Acknowledge employee contributions on projects, and never take credit for someone else’s ideas or efforts. Shining the spotlight on your team makes everyone look good.
• Breaking promises. Only promise what you know you can deliver to your staff. If, for example, employees have been told they will receive a promotion, raise or bonus when company profits improve, follow through on your word as soon as feasible.
How often have you worked for leaders who commit these mistakes? More important: Do you?