The Substance of Leadership

What are the qualities that make a great leader? This is a great question for young professionals to ask, and the staffing pros at Robert Half Technology are polling IT professionals to get the answers.

The company asked workers which qualities they admire in leaders, and found that autonomy, honesty and integrity were the three most often cited.

Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos are held up as individuals who embody these qualities.

Robert Half Technology asked, “Which one of the following characteristics is most important for an IT leader to possess?” Here were the top responses:

  • Trusts their employees and empowers them to make important decisions
  • Acts with honesty and integrity
  • Establishes a vision, is confident and believes they can make a difference
  • Radiates a positive attitude and inspires their employees
  • Innovates and pushes the envelope creatively

These are interesting results, since they describe a certain type of leadership – they kind you see in entrepreneurial cultures.

They perfectly describe a leader like Steve Jobs, who was brilliant and inspirational but was also known for being short-tempered, even abusive –often reducing subordinates to tears.

What’s missing from this list are such qualities as “empathy,” “kindness” and “putting your team’s well-being before your own interests.”

All of this brings up some questions: are there different types of leadership appropriate to different types of organizational cultures? Would a great leader for one type of corporate culture fail in another situation?

It certainly give young professionals food for thought as they decide which paths to take in their careers.

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