The Characteristics of Great Leaders

June 12, 2015      By Ultimate Software

We at Ultimate Software are proud to announce that our Founder, President, and CEO, Scott Scherr, is among the Highest-Rated CEOs on Glassdoor for 2015!Highest Rated CEOs

Each year, the online jobs and careers marketplace lists the top leaders from companies across North America and Europe. Results are based solely on candid feedback from current and former employees, who report on topics such as job satisfaction, work environment, and company culture.

Scott founded Ultimate 25 years ago on a simple, but vital, principle: People First. This is far more than a catchy company slogan or tagline. At Ultimate Software, it’s our way of life. It’s an unconditional belief instilled in all of us.

If great leaders lead by example, how does a leader exemplify putting people first?

They listen to people.

It’s no secret that successful leaders are knowledgeable and have great ideas. But they also recognize the value in listening to others. They understand—and will admit—that, sometimes, the best ideas are the ones they never thought of.

At Ultimate, each and every employee is allowed to speak up and share new ideas. No suggestion is bothersome. We aren’t told we must follow the same tried-and-true formula because “that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Instead, we’re challenged to find innovative ways of improving that very formula.

They empower people.

Great leaders realize a suggestion box left unopened is just a box. They not only listen to others’ ideas, they evaluate suggestions and implement the concepts capable of benefiting the company’s people—employees and customers alike.

A tangible example of this at Ultimate is our 48 Hours event, where members of the Development Team can spend two straight days working and collaborating on their own special projects, so long as the work relates to company goals. The event culminates in a showcase, where participants present and vote on their favorite concepts. Many of UltiPro®’s existing features were inspired by 48 Hours.

Ultimate also empowers our customers, who are welcomed and encouraged to submit UltiPro feedback. This feedback has led to numerous UltiPro enhancements. In fact, of the over 400 new features added to UltiPro in 2014, more than 150 incorporated customer ideas.

They know success takes a team.

Leaders who put people first know that success comes from the dedicated efforts of people, not a single person. These leaders treat every member of the team as their equal. That doesn’t mean there’s no hierarchy or chain of command within the organization. It means that no matter their spot on the org chart, each person plays an indispensable role in the company’s success. Each team member feels valued and respected. And they are.

At the SHRM 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition—while accepting Ultimate’s award for Best Medium-Size Company to Work For in America—Scott said, “The measure of a company is how they treat their lowest-paid employee.” This quote is displayed in the main lobby of our Weston headquarters, above our recreational basketball court.

But no matter how thoughtful or inspiring, a quote is just a collection of words. Much like slogans or taglines, few quotes are as impactful as action. Scott knows you can’t just say, “people first.” To be successful, you have to put people first.

Because great leaders walk the talk.


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