4 Characteristics of Leaders Who Get Hired and Promoted

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Imagine if you had the opportunity to sit down with a senior executive and get the real, straight up truth about what it takes to stand out as a leader in today’s highly competitive workforce.

That’s exactly what I got when I interviewed Oracle executive John Hall about the most common characteristics of people in his organization who contribute the most value. Hall was more than happy to divulge the four characteristics shared by those he is most likely to hire into – or promote within – the organization he has led to become the world’s most profitable software training business.

1. Adults only need apply

If you’re brilliant but high maintenance, that won’t impress Hall.

“I like to hire people who are smart but they have to work well with a team,” he explains. “I call it ‘adult behavior.’ They don’t have time or tolerance for office dramatics.” Explains Hall, “We still have disputes and discussions but at the end of day, I want a team that supports me and supports the business one hundred percent. Working well as a team is critically important.”

2. Don’t tell me everything’s great

“Yes” men and women with rose colored glasses firmly in place need not apply, either, according to Hall. “The other thing that we’re really keen on,” he explains, “is being data-centric. I don’t need somebody to say, ‘Things are going well.’ I want them to say, ‘Hey, things are 6.7% better than last year’ or ‘They’re at negative 6.7%.’ ”

Hall adds, “Speaking in those terms provides a tremendous amount of credibility when you’re talking to senior executives and other people in your industry.” So get into the practice of presenting your thoughts with clearly defined facts rather than fuzzy generalizations.

3. Take the baton and go for the finish line

A key to success and being valued in Hall’s organization – and most others – is being results-oriented. “At Oracle we have very specific objectives around revenue, margin, market share, customer satisfaction, and quality,” Hall says.

He takes care to clearly define and communicate goals, and then relies on team-members to drive toward those results with little handholding along the way. “I’ve had success with describing the finish line in extremely clear, data-centric terms. I tend to hire great people and make sure they know the objectives.”

Not clear what constitutes success in your role? Ask your manager to clarify your objectives, so you can measure and report your progress against clearly defined targets.

4. Set the integrity bar high

“The final thing that’s table stakes for me is high integrity,” Hall says. He sets a high bar for integrity in his approach to things like customer service and how his own employees are treated. “When I surround myself with a team that’s got high integrity,” he explains, “it’s easy to maintain that standard.”

Want to be valued by the leaders in your own organization? John Hall would encourage you to work well with your team, be data-centric, results-oriented, and operate with integrity. “These are the characteristics I always look for when hiring or promoting somebody,” he concluded.

To hear my conversation with John Hall watch “Ask an Executive,” available immediately when you register for the Emerging Women Leaders Webinar Series.

Jo Miller

Jo is Founding Editor of Be Leaderly, CEO of Women’s Leadership Coaching, Inc., and creator of the Women’s Leadership Coaching® system, a roadmap for women who want to break into leadership. She has traveled in Europe, North America, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East to deliver keynotes and workshops, and counts being the only Aussie women’s leadership coach in Iowa among her unique “koalafications.” Learn more about Jo’s services at womensleadershipcoaching.com and follow @jo_miller on Twitter.

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