ASLON 5: Qualities of a Great Leader

As part of our search process, we use a variety of methods and strategies to deliver top leaders. We identify individuals who can assimilate easily and step into higher roles. We look at a candidate’s credentials, performance and training but beyond that, we study the intangibles, such as a candidate’s core values, passion and level of commitment. To do this, we use a set of leadership assessment criteria called the ASLON Five.

1. Bias toward action

Our leaders are “can do” individuals who see a need, develop a plan, and work the plan to completion. They may be considered intense or passionate about their work but they also make time to spend with their families, thereby creating a balance in their lives that they promote in their teams.

2. Submit to authority

No matter your level in an organization there will always be someone in higher authority than you, even if it is a shareholder. Great leaders must be able to submit to authority when an idea or decision is not embraced and then accept the decision wholeheartedly for the good of the organization. This approach produces healthy organizations that can weather a storm such as an economic downturn or the threat of competition by creating a workforce of loyal employees. Organizations that take a genuine interest in their employees’ well-being will have staff members who stand by the company in rough times and, although decisions may be tough, will understand the long-term vision and strive to accomplish the results needed to turn them around.

3. Window and the Mirror

Great leaders look in the “mirror” when things go wrong. They take the blame, research the problem, learn from mistakes and move on. They don’t lay blame or point fingers. On the reverse, when things go well they look outside the “window” to give praise to others and share the glory with the team/organization. They are highly respected individuals who may not be in the spotlight but, when looking over their shoulder, know they are in the lead. Jim Collins wrote about this leadership concept in his book, Good to Great.

4. Sacrifice to a Grand Vision

A great leader surrounds himself with great people and has a vision of where the organization should be and how it can get there. Communication skills and passion must be present to advance this vision. Nothing is more influential than a leader who is committed to make this vision happen.

5. Consistency of Character

A key leadership competency in today’s global economy is “trust.” A great leader’s competence naturally earns trust; however, consistent integrity with pure motives develops character that people are inspired by. Nothing has more influence than a relationship of trust and that only happens through consistency of character.