Employer Branding

Why Great Leaders Attract Talent Like Flies on Sherbert

Great leadership is an under-appreciated variable in career trajectory.  Finding a leader rather than a run-of-the-mill manager can jumpstart success, and stagnating under poor or nonexistent leadership can create unnecessary barriers to long-term goals.  Thus, during a job search, you should be cognizant of and closely scrutinize the perceived effectiveness of your potential future manager.

While anyone can recognize short-term success under average management, you ought to strive to work under people with insight, experience and rigor.  Unfortunately, job seekers often navigate interviewing like a one-way street: an employer judges skills and that individual fails to assess their potential future manager’s leadership acumen.

Before you can determine the effectiveness of a future manager, it is imperative that you understand what to look for.  Here are key leadership traits your next manager ought to possess:

1) Consistent employee evaluations:

Too often, managers are not hands-on with their employees and are aloof when it comes to communicating their expectations for you. Great leadership consists of guiding, critiquing and helping subordinates improve their performance in every way.

Instead of once a year employee evaluations, ask your potential manager how they will gauge your progress and performance and how often they will do so.

RELATED: Are Employee Evaluations Really Necessary?

2) Ability to boost self-confidence:

Building the self-confidence of those under them is probably the most crucial thing a leader can do.  They use ample praise to motivate and enjoy the positive energy that comes from close interaction with their subordinates.  They know that growing people is part of their job and they take this aspect highly seriously.

3) Leaders have a clear-cut vision for the company:

As a job seeker, it is recommended that you ask your future manager what their vision is for the company and for your position.  If the individual possesses sincere leadership skills, they will have a specific answer regarding the direction of the organization as well as for the job in which you’re applying.

One of the problems in organizations is that management never communicates their vision directly to the employees.  Often, this creates confusion and hinders the ability for a job seeker to effectively contribute to the bottom-line of their employer.  The goals should be both quantitative and qualitative and ought to sound logical, realistic and intriguing to you.

RELATED: The Anatomy of an Engaged Employee

4) Optimistic attitude:

Negative outlooks in an organization will filter down and hinder every employee from reaching their true potential.  Choose to work for a company whose management has a bad attitude and you will quickly be infected with a less than optimistic view regarding the job.

When assessing whether your future manager truly has leadership skills, ask yourself whether you find their attitude catching, dynamic and upbeat.  An upbeat manager who goes through the day with a positive outlook ends up running a team or organization filled with…upbeat individuals with similar forecasting.  These optimistic views will result in personal growth, heightened performance and admiration for the job.

5) Leaders gain trust amongst their employees:

Leaders establish trust by giving credit where credit is due. They take responsibility for the performance of their subordinates and never steal ideas from team members.

True leaders don’t need to be loved by everyone and view employee success based on output rather than popularity. Because of this, their  workers trust them partly because they are fair and make the right calls even during difficult times.

6) Great leaders have all the questions rather than claim to know every answer:

Strive to gain a job where your manager is comfortable not being the smartest person in the room.  Great managers understand that their employees have key insight into making the firm’s products and / or services more viable to the public.  Thus, they probe for interesting ideas via asking the right questions.Work for a manager who knows everything and you will be limited in your ability to find creative solutions to the everyday issues you will inevitably face.  True leadership knows that questions, healthy debate, decisions and action will better everyone’s performance.

In the end:

Strive to work for leaders who set the right example.  Always associate yourself with people who try new things, inspire risk-taking and provide you with opportunities to further your career instead of limit your options.

By Ken Sundheim

Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement, a sales and marketing executive search firm based out of New York City. He is also a writer for Forbes. Follow Ken on Twitter @Ken_Sundheim.