Qualities of a Leader

In this episode, Sam Shriver, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at The Center for Leadership Studies, asks Jeff Chambers to share his thoughts on the attributes of great leaders.

Episode Transcript


Welcome to The Center for Leadership Studies podcast, an exploration of contemporary leadership issues with experts from a variety of fields and leadership backgrounds. In this episode, Sam Shriver, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at The Center for Leadership Studies, asks Jeff Chambers to share his thoughts on the attributes of great leaders.

Sam Shriver

So, Jeff, from your perspective, the most important qualities of a leader are?

Jeff Chambers

Humility. Jim Collins says great leaders, when something goes wrong, they look in the mirror, and when something goes right, they look out the window. What I’ve seen with leaders is they have that sense of humility. It’s not about them, and they want other people to get the glory and get the credit instead of them.

Honesty. I’ve seen a lot of leaders who will tell you what they think you want to hear instead of telling you the truth or telling you why. I can’t tell you because it’s above your pay grade. That doesn’t build a lot of personal power; that doesn’t engender a lot of trust.

I think the other criteria is leaders that are interested in you as a human being, not just as a direct report, because we have a very fluid and mobile employment society. If you really want to retain your top talent, you have to do more than just provide them wages and benefits. You’ve got to do things for them that are going to help not only move the needle for the company but help them grow and develop. People don’t leave jobs for money. They usually leave because, and I think all the empirical data supports this,s they leave because of management. Either they’re a direct manager or senior management. They always say it’s for money because nobody wants to burn any bridges because they might need a reference, they might want to come back, they never know.

People leave organizations because of management, because of leadership, because they just don’t trust it. Now, there are exceptions to that if a company’s going out of business, obviously. Most of the people that I see that I talk to, they leave because they’re fed up with their management. So, I think humility is probably the biggest thing because if you’re humble, you’re going to be honest, you’re going to be truthful, and you’re going to be focused on the needs of others.

And this whole idea that really resonates with me is the idea of serving leadership, creating the conditions for others to be successful, because if others are successful as a leader, I’m successful as well. You want to create followership, not just, I’m the leader, so do it my way. You want people to want to follow you.


Jeff Chambers is the Director of HR and legal at The Center for Leadership Studies. He is also a Vice President with Goodwin Executive Search, responsible for business development and search execution. He serves as the Secretary-Treasurer on the Board of Directors for World at Work and is also an advisory board member at Alpha Marketing. Jeff spent the majority of his career with SaaS Institute, a software company that consistently ranked high on Fortune magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list during each of the eight years Jeff was vice president of Human Resources.

For seven years prior to that, Jeff was SaaS’s senior corporate counsel. After leaving SaaS, Jeff was appointed senior vice president of human resources and legal affairs for PRA International, a global clinical research organization. Most recently, he served as chief human resources officer at Vitent Health Systems. Jeff is a work-life-certified professional. He earned a BA in Political Science from Bucknell University and a JD. From Villanova University of Law.

Thank you for listening to the Center for Leadership Studies podcast. Through its innovative leadership development programs, The Center for Leadership Studies has helped millions of individuals across the globe become more effective leaders and has helped thousands of organizations build more productive and engaged workforces. For additional information on our services and products, please visit Situational.com or call 800. 330.2840. At The Center for Leadership Studies, we build leaders.