We’ve all had good bosses, bad bosses and just okay bosses, but some people have been lucky enough to work under extraordinary bosses. Leaders that inspire excitement in the workplace, build a strong company culture and cultivate loyalty and passion in their team members. These kinds of bosses are hard to forget.

It’s the standard which all leaders are trying to live up to. How do you become THAT boss? The one that professionals can recall years down the line for their exceptional leadership. Well, ten years worth of extensive statistical analysis conducted by leading executive consultant Ron Carucci has come to some pretty interesting conclusions.

Leadership traits - hand holding pen ticking a list of traits

In order to be considered exceptional by their employees, leaders usually have similar traits

What traits do great business leaders have in common?

After over 2,700 leadership interviews, the study concludes that all exceptional leaders have recurrent traits – skills and attributes that we have recognised as a part of the Leading Teams approach for over 25 years. Let’s take a look at what all outstanding leaders are doing to lead an inspired and motivated workplace.

Employees want to work with leaders that hear their feedback and act on the commentary thoughtfully.

1. Creating meaningful relationships

The ability to form durable and worthwhile relationships was far and away the best-correlated trait to exceptional leadership. The biggest takeaway from the analysis, according to Carucci, is that these relationships must be genuine and long-lasting. The ability to form this kind of connection with employees is something that distinctly sets apart great leaders from good ones.

So, how do leaders create these kinds of relationships? It all boils down to exceptional communication. This is more than office memos and company announcements, it is about having genuine conversations with your team. Carucci’s study found that the more meaningful communication an employee had with a leader, the more likely they were to perceive that leader as exceptional. Yet, according to a report by workplace research campaign A Future That Works, 1 in 5 Australian workers experienced major problems in communication with their boss in 2016 alone.

Remember: Exceptional communication often has more to do with listening than speaking. Employees want to work with leaders that hear their concerns and feedback and act on the commentary thoughtfully and effectively.

2. Using exceptional industry knowledge to inform long-term strategic vision

Change is the primary constant in today’s business world. The digital age means there are new industry disrupters arriving at an unprecedented rate. Exceptional leaders, according to Carucci’s analysis, don’t see these changes as a threat but as an opportunity.

When these disruptive forces do emerge, exceptional leaders don’t make rushed decisions. They lean on their industry knowledge and shape long-term strategic visions that work with the change instead of in spite of it. This kind of innovative framework enables an organisation to not just be successful but resilient in the face of all scenarios.

3. Building pathways for employees as part of that long-term strategy

Great leaders have a 360-degree understanding of their business. This enables them to make more holistic decisions and build more comprehensive career paths for their team members. When executives approach leadership in a segmented fashion it can leave individual employees confused as to where they stand in the bigger picture.

Exceptional leaders build out their business ideas with every single department and employee in mind.

That’s why exceptional leaders build out their business ideas with every single department and employee in mind. This leaves their team members feeling more valued and purposeful in the workplace and helps create a sustainable long term framework that aligns with larger company goals.

Developing as a leader with Leading Teams

Exceptional leadership is built into the Leading Teams model. We focus on helping leaders build genuine relationships with their teams to enable bigger picture things like meaningful career pathways and key behavioural frameworks. Anybody can become an exceptional leader when they invest time and effort into team dynamics. Give us a call on 03 9654 3744 to discuss your needs.


Daniel Healy

Daniel Healy

Daniel joined Leading Teams in 2013 after an AFL playing and coaching career where he had first-hand experience of our program over 20 years. Daniel is a Facilitator/Partner based in Adelaide.
Learn more about Daniel.