Characteristics of Good Executives

L. Douglas Mault

October 2005

Here are some questions to ask yourself, to find out whether or not you’re a good executive. Answer honestly. You’re probably your own toughest critic, so don’t overdo it. After you’ve answered the questions, move on to the next section to review some key characteristics of successful executives.

How much confidence and trust do you feel your employees have in you? How much confidence and trust do you have in them?

To what extent do you convey to your subordinates a feeling of confidence that they can do their jobs successfully?

Do you expect the impossible and fully believe they can and will do it?

To what extent are you interested in helping your subordinates to achieve and maintain a good position and income? To what extent are you interested in helping subordinates get the training that will assist them in advancement?

To what extent do you try to understand their work-related problems? How much are you really interested in helping your subordinates with those work-related problems?

How much help do you give your subordinates in doing their work?

How interested are you in training and finding better ways?

How much do you help subordinates solve work-related problems in a constructive manner—not tell them, but help them think through their problems?

To what extent do you ensure subordinates get needed supplies, equipment, etc.?

To what extent do you try to keep subordinates informed about matters relating to their work?

How fully do you share information with subordinates about the organization, policies, etc., or do you keep it to yourself?

Do you ask subordinates for opinions when a problem comes up that involves your work or responsibilities?

Do you value, seek and attempt to use subordinates’ ideas?

Are you friendly and easily approached?

To what extent do you give credit and recognition to others for their accomplishments and contributions, rather than claiming credit?

Here are some characteristics of a good executive:

-Has sound knowledge of the job.
-Shares that knowledge with, and imparts it to, subordinates.
-Plans well.
-Sets effective, realistic operating standards and explains them.
-Gives clear, timely assignments.
-Lets subordinates know what is expected of them.
-Effectively utilizes subordinates’ work time.
-Is an effective communicator and an effective listener.
-Is consistent in dealing with subordinates.
-Lets subordinates know where they stand.
-Discusses work-related problems with subordinates.
-Is receptive to new ideas.
-Listens to complaints, responds appropriately and acts promptly.
-Explains new policies and procedures.
-Coaches subordinates to improve their effectiveness.
-Is self-disciplined and is able to control temper.
-Deals with all subordinates objectively and fairly.
-Is available.

About the Author
L. Douglas Mault is the president of the Executive Advisory institute, Yakima, Wash.