Technical expertise and dynamic leadership are not mutually exclusive. Finding a true balance between technical and leadership skills requires understanding your company’s strategic objectives and operational culture. With proper training and mentorship, these considerable business skills have the potential to merge into a powerful, successful partnership. But how you attract these leaders—and propel them on an upward course of success―rests primarily on identifying fundamental characteristics during the recruitment process. It is through the integration of these finely-tuned attributes that the most capable leaders emerge.
Listed below are key traits and leadership capabilities that I recommend assessing in complement with your executive search strategy:
Communications Skills – The success of any team depends on the effective translation of knowledge to others. Genuine leaders empower their teams by keeping others informed through knowledge sharing. They can organize people and processes, and they can communicate what needs to be done, who should be doing it, and why. Especially with Generations X and Y, the ability to explain why you’re doing what you’re doing and being open to suggestions on how to improve it, can make or break a team.
Creating & Sustaining Relationships – Great leaders treat those around them with respect and create a professional environment in which knowledge and expertise is valued and incorporated into the decision-making process. They know when to encourage and how to hold employees accountable. They listen but are not acquiescent, understanding that the best way is not always the most popular. They support their employees but do not tolerate incompetence. Great leaders find value in building and nurturing these relationships, and it is through open communication channels that they create an environment of trust and support.
Understands Own Strengths & Weaknesses – Great leaders intrinsically know themselves, yet self-knowledge is perhaps the most challenging, intangible and subjective characteristic to assess in others. Self-awareness allows leaders to better relate to others and to appreciate the people and personality types that best complement their abilities and inabilities. They are willing to admit their mistakes and use them to help their team perform better in the future. They understand the sometimes loneliness of a leader but continually offer support and a solid role model to those around them.
To recruit real leaders, look beyond traditional talent sources and start spending time where they do. Attend seminars, industry conferences, and leadership programs. These events provide a wealth of networking prospects. Wherever you find industry advancement opportunities, you’ll find people who may be the answer to your talent needs.
I find this subject of great interest, and I invite you to learn more about identifying and leveraging these leadership characteristics in my white paper How to Develop Technical Leaders in the Oil & Gas Industry.
In many industries, outstanding leaders need technical knowledge. But all leaders must also be able to effectively translate their knowledge throughout the teams they lead. That’s the combination of skills you should seek.
As an executive recruiter for the Manufacturing and Oil & Gas industries, I look forward to hearing about the key traits and leadership qualities you pursue during a search for technical talent.