So I’m the type of person who likes a framework, in case you didn’t know, and recently I’ve been trying to clarify to a group of leaders I am mentoring what the top qualities are that I desire in people on my various teams.
Luckily, I found this article yesterday from The 99% on The Top 5 Qualities of Productive Creatives (And How to Identify Them!), in which Jocelyn Glei lays out 5 qualities that I think apply not just to the creative industry, to to creativity and leadership in general.
Quickly, the 5 are:
- Communication skills
- Pro-activeness (initiative)
- Problem solving
I’d suggest you read the article yourself, as Jocelyn not only lists and describes the 5 qualities, but she shows you how to test for them too.
The Qualitites That I Want
After struggling, as I said in starting, to get down my most sought after qualities in people, I think this list is pretty much bang on. Initiative, or pro-activeness, is certainly my top quality and I see it as the bedrock of the others. If someone has initiative I can deal with their issues and build up their strengths as opposed to someone who just isn’t moving in their life despite having a great set of strengths already. One of the primary roles of a team player for my teams is to lighten the leader’s load – to lighten my load – and people without initiative do the exact opposite and increase my load because now I have to continually ‘work them’ to get them to work.
Communication and problem solving are two different skills but both joint second for me. Communication is a no-brainer – someone with poor communication slows the team down. Problem solving is perhaps similar to initiative, but I would see it as a distinct creative quality that shows lateral thinking. I know people who can take the initiative, but they can’t problem solve.
Curiosity and risk-taking are at the lower end of my list and I’m not sure if I would keep the list at 5 qualities to keep them in – I might just make mine 3 and remove them. Or I might replace them with something like loyalty, faithfulness, trust worthiness, etc.
Your Leading Thoughts: What Are Your Top Qualities?
- What is your list of 3, and then your list of 5?
- If there had to be ONE top quality above all others, which could you make it?