Government Contractors (GovCon) contracts professionals juggle many daily responsibilities that require great attention to detail and negotiation skills. Most GovCon contracts professionals possess strong traits needed to provide enterprise-wide value in their organization. While world-class contracts leaders have cultivated traits that go the extra mile to land a senior title. Unison explores the traits that set apart the leaders of world-class contracts team and how you can acquire them. 

Unison has conducted surveys of hundreds of contracts professionals, panel discussions with GovCon contracts leaders, and one-on-one interviews with dozens of senior contract department heads at leading GovCons. From this data, we have identified the traits of strong contracts leaders and the additional traits that set world-class leaders apart.  Before you read further, what traits do you find necessary for a contracts professional to possess to provide elite leadership?



Traits of a Strong Contracts Leader 

  • Envisions what better processes and better teamwork would look like  
  • Demonstrates attention to details and meets deadlines 
  • Displays a deep understanding of company’s internal processes, product/service offerings, or customers  
  • Work constructively with direct reports  
  • Gets support from direct manager, CFO, Sales/BD leaders, and Operations teams 
  • Exhibits strong negotiating skills  
  • Taps multiple external sources of innovations ideas, alerts, and best practices 
  • Possesses a strong relationship with customers’ Contracting Officers 


Traits of a World-Class Contracts Leader 

  • Demonstrates the ability to balance risk and revenue growth 
  • Displays a deep understanding of Government Contracting, FAR, and DFARS 
  • Strives to be more effective and efficient 
  • Demonstrates ability to get vital, operational work done while upgrading people, processes, and technology 


The best path to acquiring World-class traits encompasses three major steps: Build peer relationships, engage mentors, and get the right team.  

First, build peer relationships—communicate broadly your top priorities and the target benefits, and remember to invite peers to do the same. When you need to help act on a decision being made, express disagreements among peers explicitly yet diplomatically.  

Second, engage multiple mentors—do not seek just one superhero to help you use your greatest strengths and improve on soft spots. Often, it is beneficial to have one mentor inside your company and one mentor outside of your company.  

Lastly, get the right team—identify change leaders and “keep them warm” since the need for change often comes in waves. Remember to reward and recognize small and immense success as strategic achievements.  

Automate the tedious aspects of contract professionals’ jobs so they can focus on strategic work with colleagues and customers. Unison’s CLM capabilities provide comprehensive support to contract professionals with an intuitive, efficient, integrated approach to accurately answer data calls and comply with FAR/DFARS.  

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