What Employers Look For In A Leader v What Team Members Look For In Their Leader


Research (see below for link) of more than 1,300 Australian professionals found:

  • Employers ranked the top two leadership traits as ‘strong work ethic’ and ‘record of success’ however employees ranked the importance of these leadership traits as ninth and eleventh respectively;
  • Employees ranked the leadership traits of communication and team building as second and third in importance compared to employers who ranked these traits at positions nine and ten.

This clearly indicates that employers rate an individualistic, task focused and achievement approach as highly desirable in a leader but that employees highly value a team orientated and values/people focused approach from their leader.

This disparity creates and a huge amount of conflict in teams where team members look to their leader to set a team inclusive, collaborative and supportive culture and are finding these leadership traits to be seriously lacking.

Such disparity also creates confusion for leaders and aspiring leaders who see higher level managers and executives being recognised and rewarded for project delivery and a ‘ no nonsense, rapid change’ approach and are trying to emulate this style. Yet the there is tension in their teams and they are having difficulty ‘bringing their teams along with them’ – to be motivated (like they are) to churn through tasks and meet project goals.

There is a clear need for leaders to be involved in training, coaching and mentoring programs to develop their communication and collaboration skills and to fully comprehend the benefits of understanding what motivates each team member.

Leaders of the future will require not just intellectual and emotional intelligence but an attitude of care for others and a curiosity for being able to adapt their leadership style to the needs of both the business and their team to ‘get the job done’ to the satisfaction of all involved.

The future of leadership: The crisis in corporate Australia and what to do about it, Six Degrees Executive, August 2017

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About the Author

Catherine Gillespie brings a wealth of skill to her clients. With particular expertise in teaching communication and workplace conflict resolution skills, Catherine has made a marked difference to the organisations she has worked with. She empowers teams and managers to adopt constructive styles that support harmony, productivity and progress in the workplace.