When considering the characteristics that make a good
leader, another important item to keep in mind is that
good leaders are not in their roles to simply manage employees, but to groom those individuals to become better
in their own roles. In other words, managing the day-to-day
operations is only a small part of an effective leader’s position. They must also encourage and teach their employees
to excel and strive for excellence on a daily basis.
HIRING INTERNALLY & EXTERNALLY
After you have identified the leadership qualities that
are most important to your company and that fit well
with your organization’s culture, you will be ready to start
the process of seeking out those who match your idea of
an exceptional leader. Attracting and retaining top leaders
certainly involves a great deal of focus and strategy.
As your organization begins the recruiting process, remember that a balance between seeking outside individuals
and promoting those who are already within the company
is important. Recruiting and attracting leaders from outside
your organization will help create diversity amongst your
leadership team. Never underestimate the power of opening yourself up to fresh ideas, new business strategies, and
outside expertise. More than likely, these will strengthen
your current leadership team.
On the other hand, promoting individuals within your
organization certainly has its benefits. For instance, it is
much easier to identify leadership traits and qualities when
you are familiar with the individual already. Take a look
around your office. Which of your employees is regularly
outperforming other individuals? Which of your employees routinely takes the initiative to solve problems quickly
and effectively? If you find yourself focusing on one or two
people who fit into this category, these may be prime candidates for a leadership position.
Other benefits of promoting current employees
• It’s easier to groom an individual who already under-
stands the processes and procedures, business strate-
gies, and goals of the company.
• Providing employees with a goal and career path will
improve your company’s employee retention.
• You already know that the employee meshes well with
the company culture.
• It shows your employees that you value them and their
success with the company.
Take these ideas into consideration when determining
who may be the best fit for a leadership position within
your organization. Again, there is no “correct” answer as to
whether an outside candidate or an inside candidate will
be the best fit. You simply need to consider the options,
consult with other respected leaders in your company, and
make informed decisions.
As you search for effective leaders to drive your com-
pany’s success, consider these few parting words of insight:
• Think outside the box when hiring individuals for
leadership roles. Skills, experience, and education are
important; however, finding someone whose qualities
align with your company’s culture is even more critical.
• The aspects of a job function – such as day-to-day
processes and procedures – can by learned by anyone
who is a great academic performer. But an individual’s
character, coaching abilities, and overall mindset cannot
• Leadership skills are always evolving. If you expect to
hire effective leaders, you must also have high standards for your own leadership development. There is
always room for growth and improvement.
When one of your employees becomes so skilled,
talented, and motivated that you have little need to encourage him or her further, that’s when you know you
have been a successful leader! It’s also an indicator that this
individual is ready for a leadership role.
As you continue to work on your own leadership skills,
you will be better equipped to identify effective and exceptional leaders for your company. Remember: it’s a process
of continuous growth and change, but it’s also extremely
As SVP – Loan Operations at Waterstone Mortgage Corpora-
tion, Kerry Wirth manages the Loan Operations staff, admin-
isters and manages operational processes and procedures,
develops and implements strategic operations initiatives, and
provides guidance and training for her respective departments.
She has more than 20 years of experience in the financial and
mortgage lending industries.