If candidates wrote job advertisements, this is how they would read:

‘Seeking company with a strong leadership team that will enable me to be the best version of myself’.

We know that strong leadership team is critical to the success of any business so it should come as no surprise that it is also the key reason why many of us choose to join or indeed leave an organisation.

Working in recruitment you see first-hand the distinct difference between those who ‘lead’ in an organisation and those who demonstrate true ‘leadership’. The irony is that leadership is about serving rather than leading. So what qualities are top candidates identifying as ‘non-negotiable’ in our business leaders?

‘The irony is that leadership is about serving rather than leading.’


Who doesn’t want to be in a workplace where you are inspired to do your best work? Those who show leadership not only have vision, but are able to articulate that vision to both inspire and garner the support of those around them to go on a journey and ultimately deliver on that vision.


Great leaders are magnets for great talent and who wouldn't want to work with the best people in their field. But it’s not just about being able to attract the best talent, it’s about being able to harness the power of that talent. Great leaders relinquish control and give employees the freedom to learn and grow in the knowledge that those at the top have their back.


Candidates want to work for and stay with real people. Great leaders aren’t afraid of bringing their whole self to work, as opposed to the ‘brochure version’ of themselves, and they encourage employees to do the same. Leaders know that trust and loyalty is built on real connections which can only be achieved by being 100 per cent present.


Great leaders understand the power of giving time and giving of themselves; never asking their team to do anything they themselves would not do. The leader who is focused on how best to serve employees knows this is the best way to build loyalty and engagement.


Great leaders cultivate a culture of mutual respect, honesty and kindness. Being kind isn’t about being ‘nice’; candidates are looking for a ‘firm but fair’ approach to leadership. For leaders it is about knowing when to let go and when to reign in and have those difficult conversations.


Candidates are looking for strength of character in a leader. Leaders who are confident, but not arrogant or dominant are most attractive to employees. Senior candidates in particular are looking for an organisation that promotes a ’meeting of the minds’ approach to leadership. We see all too often those who are given the power to lead confuse leadership with management to the detriment of both the business and its employees.

What qualities do you look for in a leader?

Emily Wilson is Managing Partner at FutureYou Executive Recruitment and can be contacted at emilywilson@future-you.com.au  https://au.linkedin.com/in/emilywilsonholman or 0474 848 675. 

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