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Viewpoint - November 2020



Picking Great Leaders

by Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner Wray Executive Search

Evaluating candidates for senior-level leadership roles can be a daunting task. The attributes we tend to be attracted to are not necessarily those that make for a great leader. Charisma, magnetism and “rock star” qualities are important but often far from enough. Leadership is a complex, multi-faceted and nuanced capability and therefor it is imperative that we do not overvalue certain characteristics and skills. The checklist of competencies and performance of tasks may pale in importance to an individual’s behavioral characteristics. One thing is for certain, it takes exceptional leadership to survive and thrive in challenging environments.

Focusing on key required attributes with an effective evaluation process is paramount. Essential criteria for picking a successful leader:

  1. Integrity – Perhaps the most fundamental attribute of leadership. It fosters trust which drives productivity.

  1. Emotional Intelligence - The capacity to be aware of, control, and express one's emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically. Emotional intelligence is the ability to improve the connection between how we feel and how we act.

  1. Passion – A leader’s passion sets the tone. It creates positive energy and fosters highly motivated teams.

  1. Empathy – The ability to tune into others so critical for leadership. Another fundamental trust driver which creates positive energy and motivates followers to strive and thrive.

  1. Flexibility – Those who can roll with the punches are best suited to lead. They adapt to varied situations and to the needs and demands of their team members.

  1. Judgement – A good leader makes sound and timely decisions. Balancing problem-solving with long range strategic thinking is an art.

  1. Vision - A visionary leader who clearly and passionately communicates his or her vision can motivate employees to act with passion and purpose, thereby ensuring that everyone is working toward a common goal. The result is that everyone contributes to the organization's forward momentum.

  1. Positive Attitude – A positive environment will yield a more engaged and productive workforce. Inspiring confidence and enthusiasm are exceedingly impactful.

  1. Self-awareness - Strong leaders are aware of their own strengths and weaknesses. They do not hesitate to admit if they do not have the answers or do not have the experience with something. They also rely on members of their team and their complementary skills. Strong leaders are humble and happy to learn from those around them.

  1. Accountability - A strong leader holds themselves, each team member, and the team as a collective accountable for their actions. This inspires employees to do the same, resulting in higher-quality work. To hold the team accountable, strong leaders understand that they must equip their team with the tools to do their job effectively and efficiently.

Nothing drives a company more than an inspirational, supportive, empowering leader. A strong leader can make a large difference in how a company operates and how the members of a team work together toward the same goal. With strong leadership, a workforce can expect employees to be happy with and fulfilled by their work, and for there to be a level of trust among coworkers. Strong leadership connects a team through a common purpose and builds relationships in the workplace that allow for effective communication, more creativity, and better problem-solving skills.

And now for the shameless plug……at Wray, we have fifty years of experience building some of the industry’s most impressive and successful leadership teams. Just sayin’!

Be well! Stay safe!

All the best,


Bob Gershberg |CEO|Managing Partner|

727 244-4113

Finding tomorrow’s leaders today!

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