8 Traits of Effective Leaders

It takes a lot to be a good leader in these fast-changing times. A new report from DHR Global’s Christine Greybe provides eight competencies that successful leaders demonstrate on a daily basis.

May 21, 2024 – When thinking about positive leadership traits, what qualities come to mind? Perhaps it’s authenticity, emotional intelligence, dedication, or transparency. Regardless, effective leadership ties back to having a clear purpose. In today’s workplace, that purpose centers on empowering people, according to a recent report from DHR Global’s Christine Greybe.

With people and purpose as the guiding forces, Ms. Greybe offers eight competencies that successful leaders demonstrate daily.

1. Inclusive Leadership.

“Inclusivity is fundamental in reflecting the multifaceted nature of today’s workforce, which encompasses a wide array of backgrounds and perspectives,” Ms. Greybe said. “Simply acknowledging diversity is no longer sufficient; it’s imperative that diversity and inclusivity be actively celebrated and integrated into organizational culture. This focus helps shape positive attitudes among employees and promotes a sense of belonging and value.”

2. Digital Literacy.

As we navigate the digital age, the importance of technological adeptness across all levels of an organization can’t be overstated, Ms. Greybe explains. “Modern technology has revolutionized the professional landscape,” she says. “Many leaders in C-suite and executive positions have a strong understanding of digital tools, but this literacy shouldn’t be confined to the upper echelons. It must permeate through every layer of the organization, encompassing training, education, and ongoing support to cultivate a digitally savvy workplace.”

3. Adaptiveness & Agility.

Ms. Greybe notes that adaptiveness refers to the process or trait by which a population becomes better suited to its environment. “Agility is the ability to move quickly and easily,” she said. “Both are critical for today’s leaders. To use a recent example, when the professional landscape experienced the emergence of AI in 2023, leaders needed to adapt quickly to the new technology. In leadership, and especially when it comes to how you work with different employees or departments, the ability to be adaptive and agile can be the difference between getting ahead and falling behind.”

Christine Greybe joined DHR in 2004 as the managing director of Asia-Pacific and has held roles of increasing corporate responsibility, including as a member of the board of directors, president and head of global. Her services include assessment and coaching, succession planning, team effectiveness, onboarding and DE&I. During a key period of growth for the firm, Ms. Greybe led the expansion of DHR’s brand globally, opening offices in Australia, China, Dubai, Hong Kong, India, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, and supported growth into Europe and LATAM. More recently, she has been a part of the acquisition team providing strategic direction for international operations.

4. Emotional Intelligence.

Emotional intelligence encompasses self-awareness, empathy, and the skill to manage relationships effectively, according to Ms. Greybe. She explains that each employee approaches work uniquely. Consequently, leaders must grasp the emotions and triggers of each individual, cultivating empathy tailored to these unique dynamics. “This understanding is crucial in conflict resolution,” Ms. Greybe said. “An emotionally intelligent leader approaches issues with constructiveness and identifies tailored solutions on a case-by-case basis. Such leaders avoid relying on a one-size-fits-all strategy, instead recognizing the diverse variables that exist within their workforces.”

5. Servant Leadership.

The essence of servant leadership lies in humility and willingness to engage at all levels; a crucial trait for today’s C-suite. Ms. Greybe explains that while the responsibilities of an executive may not typically include lower-level tasks, the attitude should still reflect a willingness to perform them, if necessary. “The fundamental responsibility here is to respect all tasks your workforce performs, regardless of the employees’ levels,” she said. “Acknowledging every contribution as critical and necessary enhances operations. You want to empower your workforce by helping them feel integral to the larger mission, rather than just fulfilling routine tasks.”

6. Attention to Middle Management’s Evolving Role.

Middle management plays a crucial role in upholding the leadership ethics discussed in this article. This becomes especially important as companies grow beyond the C-suite’s capacity to personally know, manage, and interact with every employee.

Related: Leadership Traits That Matter in Times of Crisis

“With increased separation, it’s essential that leadership qualities such as digital literacy, emotional intelligence, and inclusivity trickle down through the organization,” Ms. Greybe said. “By investing in leadership training and continuously empowering, reviewing, and supporting middle management, leaders are better equipped to adapt and remain agile. Positive leadership practices are naturally passed on to direct reports, maintaining the integrity and effectiveness of management across the company.”

7. Resilience Through Togetherness.

In recent years, our professional landscape has faced numerous disruptions—from the pandemic to geopolitical and socioeconomic tensions, and the rapid changes AI has brought about. “These unique challenges require leaders to navigate with resilience and build a sense of unity,” Ms. Greybe said. “An attitude of resilience, bolstered by togetherness, is indispensable. Achieving resilience is most effective through transparency, open communication, and humility, recognizing that external events affect individuals significantly. By taking the time to discuss, listen, and empathize with your workforce about external events, you can help build a resilient community that’s united in its purpose and response.”

8. Continuous Growth Mindset.

Success hinges on embracing a continuous growth mindset. Ms. Greybe says that this involves not only financial growth, but also expansion in professional development, relationship-building, and cultural enrichment.

Are your employees advancing in their careers? Are intraoffice relationships deepening in positive and meaningful ways? Are inclusive and emotionally intelligent conversations happening at all levels within the organization?

“Answering yes to these questions indicates that your company is on the right track for sustained growth financially and culturally,” Ms. Greybe said. “Effective leaders play a crucial role in developing this environment, ensuring progress, and avoiding stagnation.”

Authenticity Is Everything

“We’ve seen immense changes in the professional environment over the last few years, and more changes are always on the way,” said Ms. Greybe. “Companies with visionary culture, stakeholder buy-in, and leaders who embrace adaptive and agile communication will reap the benefits of invested workforces that believe their organizations prioritize them as individuals. Stay humble, be vulnerable, and listen to the people around you. Remember, the hierarchy is always human first, employee second.”

Related: 8 Key Traits to Look for When Hiring a Turnaround CEO

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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