High Impact Talent – Great Leaders Display 6 Key Traits

Alex KaarLeadership Insights High Impact Talent – Great Leaders Display 6 Key Traits

High Impact Talent – Great Leaders Display 6 Key Traits

What is High Impact Talent (HIT)? 


Great leaders tend to display six key traits. 


Vision – Great leaders cut a clear path forward and have a strong sense of what the future looks like.  They are intensely curious and passionate about their customers and they constantly innovate.  Their passion is infectious.  They are articulate and don’t use a lot of “corporate waffle”.   They know who their customer is, how they live, what their expectations are and what’s really important to them. 


Influence Great leaders can rally those around them (below, above and alongside) to take action.  They can sell their vision to the entire business and unite the team to achieve a common goal.  They are decisive and move quickly. They give their teams a sense of purpose.  They know how to get people on side, but they aren’t just about “being liked”.  They will call out the elephant in the room and aren’t afraid to be proven wrong.  They are convincing and genuine. 


Strategy  Great leaders possess a strong business acumen, which ensures that they deliver their vision efficiently and effectively.  They can see around corners, understand the commercial reality of running a business and they can budget accordingly.  They can isolate problems quickly and devise fast and effective solutions. They have short, medium and long term plans that outpace, outsmart and outlast their competitors.  Staff, shareholders and the executive team have faith in their plan. 


Team Player Great leaders surround themselves with the right people.  The best people.  They don’t make concessions on talent and understand that in order to perform at their optimum level, they need the right people to support and challenge them.  They develop champions and invest heavily in their people. They are humble and share the credit with their teams. 


Adaptability  Great leaders are constantly learning and sharpening their skills and understand the value of having powerful mentors.  They set aside their own ego, in favor of learning and development.  They seek feedback and are always on top of the global trends in technology and leadership.  Rather than gain more specific experience and being “subject matter experts”, they are always looking up, conscious to skill themselves in areas that give them broader commercial exposure. 


Humility – Great leaders are gracious and giving.  They admit when they are wrong, or don’t know something.  They don’t fluff their way through meetings or presentations.  They’ve failed (more than once) and they’ve learnt more from those failures than they have their successes.  Their ego is healthy and in check.  They give back to their community and genuinely care about the people around them. 


The reason great leaders people make an impact is simple. They deliver above what’s expected of them.  They understand how to get boards, executives and the front line engaged and excited about the future. 


High Impact Talent DOES NOT: 


  • Get bogged down in company politics. 
  • Play people off against each other. 
  • Tow the “Company Line” just to keep under performers happy, or to keep risk-averse stakeholders at bay. 
  • Surround themselves with “yes” people, who refuse to challenge them 
  • Get “Analysis Paralysis” or stage fright around decision making. 
  • Grand stand about their own success and contribution. 
  • Focus on insignificant detail, while losing sight of the big picture. 
  • Produce the bare minimum and maintain the status quo. 


Identifying High Impact Talent. 


Identifying High Impact Talent is not as easy. The reality is that most senior candidates present themselves as having high performing traits during their interview.  Often, the only validation of their skills is through the references that the candidate provides, which are often biased for obvious reasons.  Psychometric testing can provide additional data points (mostly around generic IQ or EQ measures or behavioral traits), but those tests do not provide absolute certainty. 


Identifying High Impact Talent through the executive search process commences before the executive search process begins.  We correlate hundreds of data points, collected from years of interactions with the candidates we work with.  Our executive search consultants have 10 – 20 years’ worth of experience, working within their respective verticals and have had interactions spanning decades with the candidates they represent.  We know which businesses they’ve worked within (and the context of what was happening within that business at the time they were there), who they work best with (we often know their direct managers as well) and what environments they are best suited to. 


As executive coaches, we have a responsibility to develop senior executives into the future leaders of tomorrow. We have invested a significant amount of time assessing their strengths and weaknesses and have played a critical role in helping them to apply their newly developed skills in a practical context.  We know how adaptive and creative they are, where their strengths and weaknesses lie, who they work well with and what the right next role will be, in line with their career trajectory. 


The Impact of Hiring High Impact Talent 


High Impact Talent will solve an immediate business problem, but more importantly, they will create a positive and impactful legacy that lives on, long after they’ve left. 


To connect with the best High Impact Talent in the market,  please email me at [email protected]



Chris Hughes

For the past 20 years, I've focused my career on Executive Search and I've been privileged to partner with prominent global, national and local brands on their talent management projects, from executive level searches to functional expertise requirements. In addition to Executive Search, I offer career coaching, career strategy and resume writing services for executives at all levels. I also develop digital marketing strategy, powerful thought leadership articles and create engaging videos and podcasts for Alex Kaar.

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