11 Traits of a Good Leader

In a Business Intelligence survey, 58 percent of companies said they base most of their regular business decisions on gut feel or experience, rather than on data and information. A good leader knows how to balance feelings with facts, by thinking critically about their business decisions. A great leader talks to other leaders about this balance.The Leading HR Executive Summit, held in sunny St. George is an opportunity for HR executives and business leaders to network, strategize, and talk about this balance. You’ll also get great food and golfing, but more on that later. Here are eleven things you’ll learn at the Leading HR Executive Summit.


They Think Ahead

There’s choosing what color of sweater to wear with our pants, and then there’s choosing who to hire as the next VP of your company. This higher level “critical thinking” has become a buzzword as organizations realize they need to think about more than the bottom line. Michael Kallet, CEO of critical thinking consulting firm HeadScratchers, will talk about the tools you and your employees need to think quickly, intelligently, and strategically.

Learn more about Mike’s session, “Critical Thinking and Decision Making in Business Today” here.

They Create an Ethical Culture

A company’s culture is about much more than foosball tables and a snack bar. Strong leaders leverage their HR teams and existing compliance programs to create a culture of inclusion, open-mindedness and transparency. Marianne Jennings’s experiences with ethics trainings and policy development will give you the tools you need to create an ethical organization.

Learn more about Marianne’s session, “Meshing HR and Compliance to Create and Strengthen an Ethical Culture” here.

 They Have a Spine

No one wants a boss who’s heavy handed, yet no one wants a boss who isn’t a leader. Every leader will eventually be challenged to find this balance. In every organization there are employees who bully their co-workers, who refuse to take direction, and who often lash out at others. The sooner leaders address abrasive personalities, the better. Dr. Laura Crawshaw has coached more than 40 Fortune companies, NASA and the United Nations, and now she’ll coach you!

Learn more about Laura’s sessions, “Managing Abrasive Workplace Behavior: Helping Managers Grow a Spine in 4 Steps” here.

They Know the Right Sources of Information

With so much information out there, good leaders need to filter out information that doesn’t benefit their organization. Sometimes leaders will find one statistic, one expert, or one employee, and base their decision on that information. This is a trap that doesn’t end well for leaders, or the organization. Jerry Benson, former CEO of the Utah Transit Agency and currently President of 3rd Wind Leadership will teach leaders how to determine who and what to listen to, and what traps to avoid.

Learn more about Jerry’s talk, “Be Smart! How to Avoid Thinking and Decision Making Traps” here.

They Lead Their Team Efficiently

 There are countless strategies out there to increase your team’s efficiency, but the definition of “efficiency” changes depending on the company. Strong leaders know what their company needs, and they develop a strategy based on that. Taylor Flake, the former leader of the Talent Development function at PepsiCo, will talk about how he trained 50,000 employees on how to be efficient using agile work practices.

Learn more about Taylor’s talk, “The Power of Agile Teams: twice the work in half the time” here.

They Know When to Change

Leaders should know how to assess the need for change, so that when the time comes for change, they can explain to their employees why they’re changing, in addition to how they’re changing. Steve Chambers is a VP of a non-profit healthcare system, and if any industry knows change, it’s the healthcare industry. Steve will talk about best practices for organizational change, so that you’re prepared to guide your employees through any level of change.

Learn more about Steve’s talk, “Deciding Why, How, and When to Change” here.

They Take Notes from Other Companies

Strong leaders should keep tabs on what their competitors are doing, and they should pay attention to what leading companies are doing in general. Fewer companies have been in the spotlight as much as Uber, both in good ways and bad. Casey Bailey was at Uber during its most pivotal years, as Head of HR Business Partnerships. She’ll talk about how Uber learned to articulate its company values, and how that grew the company and improved public sentiment.

Learn more about Casey’s talk, “Lessons from Uber: How Company Values Impact Your Business and Your People” here.

They know when to fight and when to admit they’re wrong

 Leaders will inevitably have internal conflicts with peers and employees, some of which can result in a lawsuit. Smart leaders know when they can feel confident in their position and can hold their ground and when to realize they were wrong and should settle with a plaintiff. April Hollingsworth, a plaintiff employment lawyer, will walk leaders through a variety of real life examples of decisions that HR professionals made, what was their approach to the conflict, and where they ended up.

Learn more about April’s talk, “Know When to Fold ’Em, Know When to Walk Away, and Know When to Run” here.

They Know What their Legislators are Doing

Strong HR leaders follow legislative decisions and new regulations, so that they know what might impact their organization. Even more proactively, leaders get involved with their government to advocate for legislation that benefits them, and campaign against laws that would be harmful. Nancy Hammer is a Senior Government Affairs Policy Counsel for SHRM, and she’ll teach attendees how to monitor legislation and how to get involved in legislative issues that impact HR and the business community. 

Learn more about Nancy’s session, “Helping Legislative Decision Makers Make Better Decisions from an Employer's Standpoint” here.

They Energize Their Employees

Leaders know that an engaged team is a productive team. By openly communicating expectations, celebrating successes, and fostering teamwork, leaders can create a strong culture. There’s also strength in leaders who are fun to be around. Learn from Matt Townsend, who is as funny as he is informative, during Thursday’s networking event and dinner at the gorgeous Cliffside Restaurant. The dinner menu includes New York Strip steak, pan-roasted chicken, or chili glazed salmon for a tasty Southern Utah culinary experience.

Learn more about Matt and the dinner here.

They Know How to Take a Break

Leaders are at their best when they balance work and life. During the Leading HR Executive Summit, leaders will get to unwind with two lunches, a dinner with Matt Townsend, and golfing at The Ledges Golf Course. The summit will be as relaxing as it will be informative.

All leaders have a mix of these traits, and all leaders can work on improving these traits.

Join us at the Leading HR Executive Summit, and come back a stronger leader than ever.