A workplace can be functioning, but if it lacks leadership, it’s not thriving. Successful leaders cultivate specific practices and traits that help them and their teams succeed. Need some examples? Take it from these nine business talent leaders.

Prioritize Individual Employee Success

Successful talent leaders focus on making sure that every employee is working at their full potential. These leaders do this by improving the efficiency and simplicity of processes as a way of heightening employee experience, job satisfaction, productivity and quality of output. They know that making work easier for employees is the key to a loyal, highly productive and innovative workforce. As such, they make it a priority to find ways of streamlining workflows and removing any impediments to employee success.

Joe Flanagan
Founder, 90s Fashion World

Find Growth in Adaptability & Communication

The most successful talent leaders are individuals who prioritize adaptability and communication. Starting a business always means tackling unforeseen challenges. It is essential to stay on your feet and adapt with grace to overcome roadblocks and improve the business. Without communication, a business has no direction, and company missions and values can fall to the wayside.

On one hand, how a company is shared with the world and how the company treats its employees are huge factors in ensuring prolonged success internally. On the other hand, communication and adaptability are skills that each play a large role for established and successful leaders.

Guna Kakulapati
Co-Founder & CEO, CureSkin

Keep Learning to Improve the Development of Talent

Talent leaders should spend time developing their employees. However, in order to do that on a continual basis, they should also be pushing themselves to grow their own skills. The more the leader is learning, the more assets they can draw on to help develop talent within their teams.

Heather Smith
CPO and Senior Account Executive, Flimp Communications

Unlock the Potential of Every Team Member

A leader motivates their team by being one of them. The best philosophy is to foster an open creative environment to unlock the potential of every team member. When you see your team as your partners as much as the client, your passion for a project will radiates down to the team. Strive to promote collaboration so that everyone involved feels they are making something truly special. Inspiring and cultivating a passionate collaborative team is essential.

Michael Ayjian
Co-Founder, 7 Wonders

Be Selective & Picky with Purpose

Successful talent leaders know that recruiting is never about just filling a seat: being picky is a characteristic that puts you a notch above your peers that are dipping into the same pool of talent. There are probably hundreds—if not thousands of people that can handle the responsibilities of the role you’re trying to fill.

The best HR pros see the bigger picture and find candidates that do more than just the job: they find people who’ll make a positive impact throughout your workplace. When talent leaders are picky—with purpose—they go beyond the surface to find people that elevate an organization.

Jessica Arias
Director of People & Culture, OnPay Payroll Services

Empower Your Employees

Talent leaders differ from managers because one of their primary purposes is to inspire, not direct or instruct. A talent manager should learn how to motivate their employees by drawing from their experience and nudging them in the right direction. A talent leader must empower employees to hone resilience, a problem-solving mindset, how to generate inspiration on their own and, ultimately, how to succeed on their own. If a talent leader can manage to do this, they are likely to be successful.

Marc Roca
Owner, 4WD Life

Pursue Top Talent with Speed & Decisiveness

A candidate receives outreach for an open role at an appealing firm. They apply, get an interview and wait. Another interview follows and another. Then, they wait again. Meanwhile, another role opens at a competing organization. The candidate interviews and quickly receives an offer. While the first firm weighs its options, the candidate slips through their fingers.

As an executive recruiter, I’ve watched this happen countless times. Candidates put in the work, but the company dithers. Speed and decisiveness are winning characteristics of a successful talent leader. A talent strategy can be put in place, compensation bands painstakingly worked out and a pool of all-star candidates assembled. But if talent leaders don’t quickly and decisively execute their strategy, they’ll lose.

Tony Topoleski
Project Manager, ECA Partners

Have Empathy

Successful talent leaders are highly empathetic. Empathy enables them to feel connected to their subjects since they are able to identify with issues they are going through. Their leadership is not dictatorial in nature, and this brings employees together under them to support their leadership hence making stronger teams. Empathetic leaders are able to work today in order to realize what the future holds in the coming days because they make everyone feel that they belong to the team and that their contribution is important.

Yongming Song
CEO, Imgkits

Compartmentalize Life & Work Roles

One of the toughest things to learn when it comes to managing people is how to compartmentalize your roles between life and work, and the emotions that come along with them. Your main goal should be to prioritize their thoughts and well-being on an individual level, putting aside your own personal feelings to ensure you show up and actively listen to those that you manage.

This means that no matter what, when you step into your role as manager to meet with someone, you set aside all other issues or frustrations that you’re having in order to fully show up for that employee. Compartmentalization is a practice that’s mastered in use; meaning that the longer you train yourself to do it, the more successful you will be with it down the line.

Karim Hachem
VP of eCommerce, La Blanca

Gracie Wirick

Gracie Wirick is a writer and editor at RecruitingDaily and the HCM Technology report. A Purdue graduate with degrees in Professional Writing and Communication. She is a lover of classics and literature with an unfortunate penchant for the Oxford comma.