Executive leadership is a novel management approach grounded in the notion that an ideal leader is one who is capable of influencing employees towards the attainment of a set of specific organizational goals. According to Hall (2015), executive leadership is invaluable to firms seeking to realize success within a specific entrepreneurial niche since it ensures competent individuals oversee major decision making and strategic planning functions. Over the past decade, executive leadership has morphed into a complex methodology which amalgamates soft and hard skills to motivate and inspire employees participating in various business processes. It is, therefore, fundamental to evaluate key characteristics of an executive leader, skills required to succeed within this position, and how one can continue working on attaining these traits and skills.
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Key characteristics and traits of an executive leader
Executive leaders have been known to display a high level of accountability. They choose to rise above their current environment; demonstrating a degree of ownership necessary in the quest to realize set objectives. Accountable leaders are also acutely aware of their surroundings and harness available resources to attain success.
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It is worth noting that executive leaders are proactive and strive to implement appropriate preemptive safeguards to address future challenges. They are always ready to act promptly in any given circumstance to promote the overall wellbeing of employees within the organization while striving for excellence. Besides, executive leaders take initiative with the primary intent of boosting productivity while aiming for the attainment of specific ends.
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An executive leader is also conscientious and capable of making a clear distinction between right and wrong when faced with confounding scenarios. They are, therefore, able to comprehend a positive and necessary action required for their organization. Furthermore, an executive leader is disciplined enough to conduct regular follow-ups on the multitude of projects underway in a bid to guarantee successful completion (Peters & Helms, 2017). They eliminate their ego from the management process while ensuring that teams takes precedence.
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Moreover, an executive leader also possesses motivational leadership skills. It is through these skills that they harness the power in their charisma to create an inspired workforce ready to take on a multitude of challenges bound to emerge during their day to day activities. They create a sense of purpose within the organization by always looking forward and making certain that clear goals are set.
An ideal executive leader also has extensive analytical skills which come in handy when seeking to maximize employee productivity. Within an organizations framework, executive leaders play a major role in making sound decisions which eventually result in accrued gains. Intuitive decision making, thus, enables an executive leader to weigh all available options, before finally selecting one that is suitable for a given scenario. This then serves as a precursor to success, especially when bolstered by effective communication skills and a high level of productivity.
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Skills required to be an effective executive leader
One of the top leadership skills required to be an effective executive leader is decisiveness. A decisive leader is one who reacts quickly to any emerging scenario while being able to make quick rational decisions based on available information. This skill is typically the result of managerial experience and a wealth of knowledge which makes certain that a leader is better placed to make appropriate choices.
An effective executive leader should also espouse integrity as an invaluable skill usually evident in their truthfulness and sheer honestly. This skill is particularly important within a contemporary context where leaders with strong values are in high demand to curb corruption, wanton abuse of office, and misappropriation of company resources (Zaccaro, 2015, p. 18). An executive leader with this essential skill is, therefore, capable of making ethical choices which maintain the company’s reputation and positive image.
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Effective executive leaders should possess team building skills; an important requirement within the workplace environment. Team building skills are crucial in allowing a leader to build and maintain a strong workforce grounded in collaboration. Effective communication skills allow a leader with team building skills to relay important information to collaborative teams while being available to respond to conflict at any given moment.
Additionally, an effective executive leader should possess elaborate problem-solving skills and ability to mentor employees. Conflict and a myriad of organizational challenges are always bound to emerge. An effective executive leader should, therefore, remain cognizant of this fact and strive to implement step-by-step solutions to remove such obstacles. It is also during such scenarios mentorship skills come in handy in creating ideal employees who are able to respond appropriately to challenges while guiding employees on how best to improve their careers.
How one can continue working on attaining these traits and skills.
Ideal traits and skills which should be possessed by effective executive leaders are fundamental hence the need to continue working on attaining them. One can gain additional traits of an ideal leader by liaising with successful individuals who have chartered a clear path within this particular forte. This would allow me to conduct an in-depth evaluation of the traits possessed by such individuals and apply those which may be lacking in my portfolio. It will also be crucial to seek the opinion of and perspective of others regarding my skills as an effective executive leader. This will allow me to accurate gauge their effectiveness and consult with my contemporaries on how best to improve them.
Characteristics of an ideal executive leader can also be attained by holding candid conversations with upper management and stakeholders. Such groups comprise of experts within specific fields who can offer useful pieces of advice. Similarly, skills can be attained and maintained by creating a fluid environment where communication is fostered while asking for feedback. This is important in determining whether the skills executed within the organization have been effective, especially when dealing with compact team.
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