What are the best qualities of a good, effective leader?

June 2, 2021

Aaron Barth, Assistant Aviation Director, Meacham International Airport, Fort Worth Texas:

“I would say a leader has to be willing to listen. Before I speak, before I give any direction, I want to receive input from stakeholders, from employees – my employees, as well as others. Because I don’t know it all. I want to make sure I get input from others, so we can make the best, most informed decision possible. My key to any success that I’ve had is to be able to listen and lean on the experience of others, so we can make well-rounded decisions.”

 

Dan Schebler, County Administrator, Santa Rosa County, Florida:

“The ability to focus on the long-term and the strategic vision. And make sure that the day-to-day distractions don’t detract from your ability to get those things done.”

 

Shance Sizemore, CEO Bedford Chamber of Commerce, Bedford, Indiana:

“I think, ultimately, as leaders, we have to understand who we’re leading and maximize their skills. At the end of the day, we can’t do everything. And while some of us want to pretend like we know it all, the best trained organizations seem to be the ones who ultimately find and maximize their employees’ capacities – whether in the job skillset they were originally hired with or something completely different they learned along the way.”

 

Megan Multanen, CEO & Co-Owner of Bestbath, Caldwell, Ohio:

“It’s probably not unique, but I think it’s the ability to listen. There was a lot of conversation a few months ago in leadership circles about “how do we get people to come back to work?” And all those conversations were about giving employees things – more money, maybe more space in their job – but nobody was really talking about listening to what the employee needs or wants in order to come back into an office setting or into a work environment. It’s easy as a leader to fall into the trap of “I know what’s best” – that parental guidance mindset. But it’s important to really ask those employees, “What do you need to feel comfortable coming back to work?” I would say one of the important qualities is listening to what our people need. Because then we can solve the problems.”

 

Kevin Smith, Town Manager, Londonderry, New Hampshire:

“To be a good listener. To listen to different points of view and also keep an open mind and be willing to change your mind when presented with information. I’ve been Town Manager for eight years and no day is the same… it’s a challenge but that’s what I like about it. And being adaptable is a big part of it.”

 

Mark W. Rogers, General Manager of Gudenkauf Corporation, Columbus, Ohio:

“I don’t believe there is any duty within our organization that is below any of our people. I wouldn’t ask anybody to do anything I would not do or have not done. You lead by example. I also really believe that you have to be accessible to your people – you can’t be up in the ivory tower looking down. You have to be approachable and reachable and people have to trust you. If they don’t trust you, you’ll never be able to lead them.”

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