March 6, 2012

By Jim Leverette


All companies are looking for leaders, but the essence of leadership is hard to define, and divining who is a leader and who isn’t is more art than science.

Resumes cannot reflect the intangibles of leadership. Resumes only make a partial first impression. Having spent a significant amount of time in talking with and evaluating leaders in all functional areas of a business organization; a great many of them make similar “no cost” investments that dramatically improve the effectiveness of their people and business.

Here is one of the key “Table Stakes of Leadership” — And what to look for on — ENCOURAGEMENT

“I appreciate what “you” are doing JOB WELL DONE!” A leader influences and emphasizes the company’s culture. If you want more team work-encourage it and continually evaluate it. It’s amazing what a simple thing like “Thank You” or a pat on the back, followed by a sincere acknowledgement on the difference that member of the team is making. This is high octane fuel that doesn’t cost a thing and gives a TREMENDOUS BOOST TO MORALE while also delivering a quantifiable ROI. Each member of the team will do their utmost to go the extra mile needed in order not to let themselves or their team down on the way to achieving the company’s business goals and objectives!

Encouragement is a conduit of connection. Successful leaders understand that to lead-you must be able to “give courage” – that’s what encouragement means! Through this affirmation, a powerful link is forged allowing leaders to connect with people and then work with and through them to harness their combined strengths and focus their energies on achieving the desired result. The ability to encourage, inspire and motivate the team allows the successful leader to connect the team to the company’s vision and make them a part of the vision of where the company is going.

Here is one thought to consider on the essence of “Encouragement” when hiring for a key leadership role:

How does their leadership style contribute to establishing a culture of encouragement across the organization? Does this leader identify and affirm the team for their accomplishments? Is their recognition specific – and do they personalize what they say publicly before the peers of the team? Probe these areas and dismiss the latest psychobabble theory as a response; ask for “real-world” specific examples. Look for instances when this leader put the welfare of their subordinates first. Does this leader know what are the key challenges facing their employees? What do they like least about their jobs? What do they like most? What tools could best aid them in their jobs? Leaders that can provide answers these questions demonstrate they haven’t isolated themselves and that they still understand what is happening on the production floor or in the cubicle.

Jim Leverette is President of Randall James Monroe, Inc. He has successfully conducted executive search assignments for some of the most respected business organizations in the world. Roles include C-Level executives and their direct reports in all functional areas. He is an expert in executive search and selection and specializes in making the leadership, culture and chemistry fit. His core strength is in finding precisely the right leader to address specific business challenges for each client company represented.


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