Leadership Skills

I once discussed ethics and leadership with a team of managers that were working on building their leadership skills in preparation for a new project.

During our discussion of what leadership skills will be needed to ensure the project is implemented successfully, one of the managers asked, “What is the #1 leadership skill employees need from their leaders?”

Through my research of leadership and the articles on About Leaders, we have covered the importance of being more self-aware, persistent, and confident (see Top 10). This manager wanted to narrow it down to the #1 leadership skill.

What is it Employees Expect from their Leaders?

I immediately responded with the statistic from Kouzes & Posner’s study on what followers expect from leadership. The authors indicate that 83% of followers selected honesty more often than any other leadership characteristic.

To be truthful, honest, ethical, and authentic are leadership qualities that demonstrate integrity and credibility.

The managers immediately responded with “Well, we are very honest people so I think we have that covered.” We continued the conversation as to what does being honest really mean. I asked each manager to switch roles and think about things from an employee’s perspective.

I posed the question, “What is it your manager does that makes you feel he or she is not as honest as they should be?”

Here were a few of their responses:

  • Meetings are held behind closed doors without a recap to employees
  • Topics are changed when tough questions are asked
  • Managers ask for our opinion, but don’t really listen
  • Managers say one thing and then do another – no follow through
Dr. Mary Kay
Dr. Mary Kay is a business leadership strategist, executive coach, trainer, author, and founder of the About Leaders community and drMaryKay.com. She’s consulted with hundreds of companies and trained thousands of leaders. Her Ultimate Leader Online course helps managers become more confident, decisive leaders. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.