A Team Player!
A Good Manager!
Sure. No doubt. Every one of them. Definitely.
Attributes like these, along with many, many more, are thrown around before, during and after the executive hiring process. Why? Because every candidate has sold this much, managed this many, closed that deal, been around for this long and worked for that company — and hiring executives view some or all of the types of qualities listed above as the differentiators between similar executive candidates and their resumes.
You won’t hear me dispute any of those credentials, and a host of others, as required business milestones for a good, quality, solid executive.
But what you will hear me argue, is that there’s an over-riding personal quality that sets the great ones apart from the crowd. Sadly, there are boatload of executives (and wanna-be execs) out there who have a myriad of business qualities like those listed previously, yet do not possess the one rare quality that I look and listen for when I’m interviewing an executive candidate:
Remember how The Fonz (Google it kids) would walk into Al’s Drive-In/Arnold’s and the girls, the guys, the owner and even the parents on the show were all drawn to him? IMHO, when you take the time to vet the business credentials of a key, face-of-the-company executive candidate, he/she must also have the personality and personal presence to draw your employees, your investors, your customers, your board, your prospects, your competitors and the media into his/her orbit.
Vanilla? No thanks.
Milk toast? Nope.
Average? Steady? Capable? Pass. Pass. Pass.
Your new leader must be Cool.
So, what is it? What does this Cool executive look like?
She/he is (a/an):
Evangelist without being a preacher.
Brash without being an ass.
Ethical without being stuffy.
Current without being flashy.
Closer without being a bully.
Confident without being arrogant.
Celebrity without being detached.
Aggressive without being an animal.
Communicator without being chatty.
Likeable without being cheesy.
Charming without being creepy.
Funny without being crass.
Expert without being a know-it-all.
Tough without being mean.
They are natural leaders – because of the way they’re wired.
It’s about what’s important to them.
And none of this is learned. None of it is MBA-taught. None of it is average. They are the gold-standard of human leadership. They will change your business.
Because they’re Cool.
Bruce Martin is the President of Broad & Pattison, Inc., the leading management recruiting and executive search firm serving the U.S. automotive industry. His career includes executive assignments with DaimlerChrysler, GE Capital and Adecco, NA.