Roberta Matuson, author of The Magnetic Leader
Roberta Matuson is president of Boston-based Matuson Consulting and author of the new book The Magnetic Leader: How Irresistible Leaders Attract Employees, Customers and Profits.
Q: What are the traits and characteristics that define a "magnetic leader”?
Roberta Matuson: In my new book, The Magnetic Leader, I talk about seven traits that are common among magnetic leaders, as well as examples of people who personify (or personified) these qualities. Here are three.
1. Authenticity. Magnetic leaders don’t try to be someone else, nor do they change who they are based on office politics. They are true to themselves and are honest in their dealings with others. They are not afraid to share their mistakes or shortcomings. Warren Buffet is an authentic leader who speaks openly about his $200 billion mistake buying Berkshire Hathaway.
2. Selflessness. Nelson Mandela immediately comes to mind when I think about inspirational leaders who are selfless. Leadership is a service business, and service comes with sacrifice. Mandela made many sacrifices so that others could advance, including giving up power. When elected president of South Africa, he refused to serve more than one term because he believed that a swift transfer of his authority was in the best interest of post-apartheid South Africa.
3. Strong communication. Magnetic leaders communicate frequently and clearly. They speak their minds, even if it makes them unpopular. When they are forthright with their opinions, such people often become even more magnetic. Oprah Winfrey is a great example of a leader who is a strong communicator. In fact when she speaks, she moves markets! Who could forget Oprah Winfrey’s holiday list of favorite things? The mere announcement of an item would result in products flying off the shelves. Winfrey’s strong communication skills have inspired people around the globe to be a better version of their self. She is truly a magnetic leader.
Q: How can a business owner or manager ensure that the workplace relationship between management and staff does not deteriorate into an us-versus-them atmosphere?
Roberta Matuson: If you always have the best interest of your employees at heart, and you pay these people fair wages for their contributions, then you’ll be in a great position to avoid the us-versus-them atmosphere. You also have to make sure you treat people with respect, no matter what position they hold in the company.
Q: How can business owners/managers find the very best possible candidates to fill vacancies? And what can they do to ensure they stay with the company for the long haul?
Roberta Matuson: I’ve helped leaders at Fortune 500 companies as well as mid-size companies with their talent strategies and I can say with 100 percent certainty, that you’ll find the very best candidates to fill vacancies when people come to you and when your top people refer their friends to your organization. Forget about all the fancy perks, that do little to retain people. Instead, focus on hiring the best leaders you can find, and continually give them opportunities to sharpen their leadership skills.
Q: Where do you see the U.S. economy heading in the next 12 months?
Roberta Matuson: I see nothing but continued growth. Employers will have even more opportunities to pick and choose whom they work for. Now’s the time to transform your managers into magnetic leaders so you can attract top talent that will stick around.
Roberta Matuson is online at www.MatusonConsulting.com.