As you recruit executive candidates for companies, you have a list of qualifications that the company requires to ensure that the candidate can do the job. But both you and your corporate clients know that two people with exactly the same skill qualifications may carry out an executive role in a completely different way. What is the difference? Leadership characteristics.

Many recruiters and hiring teams think of certain leadership characteristics as being essential, such as confidence, a take-charge attitude, intelligence, and people skills. Here are some unusual leadership characteristics that may be valuable in executive candidates and make them more successful is a variety of ways.

1. Humility.

By the time someone advances into an executive position, they have often an attitude that shows they expect to be treated better than everyone else. It is refreshing to come across a leader who is humble, who seeks to elevate others, and who doesn’t look to be treated specially. Leaders with humility draw others to themselves and create loyalty to the organization, because who doesn’t want to be part of an organization where the leadership treats the people working for them with mutual respect?

Other benefits of humble leadership include creating a true collaborative culture, listening to and incorporating helpful feedback, and recognizing their own weaknesses so they can improve.

2. Being Introverted.

The typical executive is probably seen as an extrovert who thrives on contact with others and is energized by people—a schmoozer who got where they are by knowing the right people. While extroverts can make great executives for many reasons, introverts have their own leadership strengths that shouldn’t be underestimated.

Introversion doesn’t mean you don’t like people. All it means is that you are more energized by alone time and your own inner world than you are by being with people. Introverts can be a source of great ideas because they can use self-reflection to come up with innovative concepts that can make businesses money or move them forward. Introverts have a lot to offer companies, and are often just as people-oriented as extroverts in their own way.

3. Affinity for “No.”

Most people in leadership do not want to hear “no,” and as a result, they don’t hear it all that much. But this can have disastrous consequences when no one is willing or able to provide a check on bad ideas. The best leaders like hearing “no” because they know they need to hear it sometimes, and they also know that it will force them to refine their ideas and make them even better so they can turn into “yeses.”

4. Intrinsically Motivated.

Sure, they aren’t going to be turning down their paychecks any time soon, but money or other other external forces are not what drives these leaders. They have an inner drive to achieve because it gives them purpose and because they want to make their corner of the world a better place for themselves and the people around them. Money and perks are just along for the ride.

5. They Don’t Pretend—Even When It Might Benefit Them.

The corporate world can be full of pretenders—people who want to make it look like they are on top of the world, who are often unwilling to admit to struggle or failure, who need to perpetually spin the optics to make it look like everything is fine even when it’s not. There’s something refreshing about being able to tell it like it is, and a leader who can do this will be respected and will succeed where pretenders will fail.

Thrive TRM can take detailed candidate profiles and compare them to show strengths and weaknesses in real time, and the entire hiring team can view them to gauge for themselves who stands out as an exceptional talent. Discover solutions for search firms to see how Thrive can help you identify the best executive candidates.

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