Study: Character, Performance Top Qualities For Leaders

Compiled By Traci Purdum Leaders share common traits, according to a survey from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the SHRM Global Forum. The 2002 Global Leadership Survey found that character and performance appear to be the common traits for leadership in organizations regardless of location, industry or business size. The survey, which queried 426 human resource professionals from domestic and international firms, examined characteristics viewed as the most commonly effective traits for organizational leaders as well as the resources organizations use to identify and nurture future leaders. The results show that 85% of respondents say performance was the most important trait followed by character at 82%. Three traits -- adaptability, flexibility and persistence - each earned 78% of the respondents' votes. Interestingly, respondents from the United States ranked character higher than performance. Also, the U.S. puts stock in ethical standards. The survey also found that 67% of respondents find future leaders through management recommendations, 65% use a performance management process and 49% say that senior management selects potential candidates. "One key difference we noted between U.S. and international organizations was in their selection of senior management," says Debra Cohen, director of research at SHRM. "Roughly half of the U.S.-based organizations said they choose a local national as their senior manager. Conversely, only 38% of international organizations do the same. As organizations become global in nature, it is key differences like this that could determine the success and competitiveness of a business."

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