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4 key traits of strong leaders

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Everyone wants to groom great leaders. But what traits matter most?

Research by McKinsey & Co. finds four leadership behaviors stand out. If you can get your managers to excel in these areas, you’re more apt to fill the pipeline of future leaders at your organization:

1. Solving problems. Solutions to tough problems are often hard to identify. That’s why rising leaders need to process information in a systematic way. Gathering data and analyzing it rigorously requires a keen mind and an ability to focus on what’s most ­important.

2. Driving superior results. Seamless execution leads to better results. You can develop a plan and articulate it well, but the real test of leadership is diligent follow-through. Managers who operate efficiently and keep adjusting their work habits to maximize productivity tend to produce reliably good results.

3. Embracing diverse viewpoints. It’s tempting to listen to your favorite colleagues. While you may trust their judgment, you can lean too heavily on them and neglect fresh perspectives that others may provide.

Leaders learn to listen with an open mind. They encourage staffers to share ideas and propose ways to improve performance, and they differentiate between substantive issues that merit action and less important feedback.

4. Supporting others’ success. Managers who aspire to lead don’t hog credit for team achievements. Rather, they’re sensitive to others’ feelings and recognize star contributors with enthusiasm.

— Adapted from “Decoding leadership: what really matters,” Claudio Feser, Fernanda Mayol and Ramesh Srinivasan, www.mckinsey.com.

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