Good leaders are not just a “nice thing to have” in the workplace. Having a good leadership team at the organization you work for is critical to your experience there. Good leaders have the power to dramatically affect the satisfaction, work-life balance, and overall career prospects of their employees.
A new Glassdoor study, for example, found that employee satisfaction is consistently a high predictor of CEO approval ratings. Across all five countries we examined, great overall senior leadership at the company was the strongest predictor of CEO approval ratings on Glassdoor. Despite differing business culture among countries, the quality of the senior leaders that a CEO chooses to surround themselves with is the single best workplace predictor of CEO approval ratings. This means that happy employees and well-liked leadership are strongly correlated. In addition, the study found that more profitable companies have higher CEO approval ratings, even when factors like industry size and company size were controlled for. That means when a CEO is doing well, the company is likely to be doing well, which is always a boon for employees.
How can you identify strong leaders?
True leaders can’t always be spotted right away. Strong leaders not always the loudest voices in the room, and sometimes it is actually the introverts in an organization who are the strongest forces in management. One way to identify strong leaders is through evaluation of their approach to communication. Carol Bowser, the president of Conflict Management Strategies Inc., tells Glassdoor that it’s critical that a leadership team present a cohesive and clear message. The focus of leaders is often external, as they serve as the faces of an organization. “Consequently, how well the leadership or executive team can consistently and clearly communicate what needs to be done and what they are looking for to demonstrate success is important,” says Bowser.
Strong leadership can also be gauged with Glassdoor reviews and ratings. The senior management rating, culture and values rating, CEO approval rating, and recommend to a friend rating, along with the other metrics and reviews, can all give a picture of the state that a company’s leadership is in. In addition, scheduling a chat with anyone you can talk to inside the company about how they view the company’s leadership, as well as doing a dive into recent news articles about the company, can give you valuable intelligence on what the leadership climate is like there.
How can you learn from strong leaders?
Working at a company with strong leadership can provide valuable lessons and experiences for your career. For one, good leaders serve as living examples for how to handle various situations as a manager, which you can learn from if you see yourself as a future leader. In addition, good leaders can serve as mentors for your career trajectory. “Whether it’s a webinar, industry event, training session, or even just a one-on-one conversation, a mentor who has their mentee’s best interest at heart will take the steps necessary to help equip them with the competencies needed to go in with their heads held high,” told Fredda Hurwitz, chief strategy and marketing officer at RedPeg Marketing, to Glassdoor. In addition, Hurwitz stressed that good mentors are critical for building a strong network. “A good mentor will open their network up to a mentee, allowing them to connect with other helpful individuals in the industry and ultimately build up their own little black book.”
How to gauge a company’s leadership during your interview
Interviews are a two-way process. While the interviewer is trying to assess your fit for the role and for the company, it’s important during an interview for you to gauge how you’ll fit into the company’s culture, and how the company’s management will affect your everyday work experience. There are a number of questions you can ask that will help you better
“Ask questions that come from a place of curiosity, not judgment,” advises Bowser. “You are being hired for your brain and ability to execute tasks. Ask about the interplay between the position you are interviewing for and the leadership team. Will there be interactions? Will your manager be a gatekeeper? How will you and your team be viewed as successful by the leadership team?”
Leadership red flags to watch out for
Since good leadership is such an important part of being satisfied and successful at your job, it’s critical to watch out for leadership red flags when you’re interviewing at companies. “Do some investigation – does there seem to be churn at the top or churn underneath?” says Bowser. “An organization that cannot keep good people because the senior people have poor skills is a big red flag.” A low culture and values rating on Glassdoor, a high turnover rate, or a low senior management rating can all be signs that the company’s leadership is not performing up to snuff. While there are many factors you should consider when taking a job, such as opportunities for career advancement, salary, location, convenience, and more, a strong leadership team is a big factor that you don’t want to regret failing to consider.