Gilpin ESD

Executive Recruitment | Belfast | Northern Ireland

Experience vs qualifications vs personality

Monday, October 14th, 2013

Last week a headmaster who quit her job as head of a school in Westminster made the national news.

Someone resigning is not particularly news-worthy, you might say.

But the reason for the interest was the fact that the role was given to a 27-year-old with no formal teaching qualifications in the first place.

The experience vs qualifications debate is one which comes up time and time again.

Is someone more likely to be an effective business leader if they have years of experience behind them or the most recent and relevant qualifications?

Or perhaps both are important in equal measures, and the real test of effective business leadership is one’s character, traits or qualities?

For me, the best leaders possess the following features:

  • The ability to thank others: It’s easy to take the efforts of others for granted, when a word of appreciation can, not only build their self-esteem, but also enhance the relationship. This is all the more rewarding if it is done in front of their colleagues.
  • Trust: The only way to make someone more trustworthy is to trust them. Place confidence in your staff. Equally, you cannot assume that others automatically trust you. It must be earned over time by building connections.
  • Empathetic towards others: Place yourself in the other person’s shoes before you make demands that are sure to put them under added pressure. This is not hard to do, but when it is done well, it is one of the main differences between effective and ineffective team leaders.
  • Build rapport: You might have a proven track record for getting the job done, but a good leader requires people skills and the ability to inspire and motivate your team.

So, while the experience vs qualifications debate continues to rumble on, it’s clear the very best leaders are, indeed, the most effective managers.

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