What makes a magnetic leader?

A leading HR expert says there are three traits in particular which make a manager incredibly effective and highly respected

What makes a magnetic leader?

Employees are quick to jump ship when they’re faced with a bad manager but introduce an effective one and staff often stay to weather any storm – so what exactly makes these leaders so appealing?

HR consultant Roberta Matuson has worked with countless Fortune 500 firms including Microsoft, General Motors and Best Buy – she says a magnetic leader can even encourage employees to remain within an organisation when they could find more lucrative options elsewhere.

“Many people – including myself – have worked in an organisation knowing full well that they’re earning less than the market rates and yet they stay because they’re working for an incredibly magnetic leader,” she tells HRM.

“I stayed because I was working for someone who I had a lot of respect for, who gave me a lot of autonomy, who gave me feedback and treated me with respect – but when that stopped due to changes in the leadership, I left.”

Matuson recently penned The Magnetic Leader: How Irresistible Leaders Attract Employees, Customers, and Profits – during her research for the book, she interviewed a group of highly engaging leaders to find out what sets them above the rest.

“The number one thing that people said was authenticity,” reveals Matuson. “They were not afraid to be themselves even if that meant they were considered a little bit more severe or tough.”

While the leaders may risk being seen as harsh, Matuson says employees usually value their authenticity and end up perceiving them as fair.

“People know they’re authentic, they know they’re not just pretending to be really nice and they know exactly where they stand,” she tells HRM.

The other two traits which were repeatedly mentioned during Matuson’s research – transparency and vulnerability – go hand in hand together.

“Magnetic leaders are willing to share the financials of where the organisation is, they’re willing to share their fears, their passion and why this is so important to them,” she says.

“That level of conversation really makes people realise their boss is human and it’s quite powerful but it’s not easy for a lot of people.”

This article is from HRM New Zealand by Nicola Middlemiss.