What features are most important for a modern leader? What is more important: specialized knowledge, administrative skills or moral qualities of a person? What is the difference between the current model of managerial behavior and the previous one?
In today’s material, we have laid out the key traits of the top manager’s character on the principle of their highest appreciation by representatives of large international companies.
1: Leadership abilities
This personality trait is absolutely necessary for all senior managers, and not only for the general director. One human resources specialist described the search for the head of the information department in the following way: “Previously, specific knowledge would be in the first place, and now HR specialists pay more attention to candidates’ leadership skills than their technical skills.” However, experts haven’t achieved agreement in answer to the question: What kind of leadership is required.
Some of them brought “inspirational leadership” to the fore; other analysts highlighted the importance “non-authoritarian leadership corresponding to modern leadership talents.” Responsible, and leadership as a combination of sincerity, respect for others and the ability to build a relationship of trust in a team” were also commended. It was also said a “strategic leadership” concept.
Some experts affirm that the type of leadership is determined by the needs of a particular company. “If a firm is growing rapidly, developing new horizons and strategic thinking, are need skills for a leader,” one respondent answered. Another one clarified: “Responsible leadership is the ability to raise the organization as a whole or some of its function to a new height.”
Predictions were also voiced: in 2020 companies will look for “the same qualities as in 2010, and even more appreciate the “unbreakable” traits of a leader and the experience of saving a business in difficult times.”
2: Strategic thinking, the ability to concentrate on the big picture
Among experts often mentioned “strategic foresight,” the ability to think strategically and globally. One consultant highlighted the ability to “define strategic directions,” another equated strategic thinking with “integrated leadership.”
They also emphasized that strategic thinking also implies the ability to fulfill a vision or a dream (one respondent called this quality “executive savvy,” the other “high standard of work”). One personnel selection specialist recalled that strategic thinking is a relatively new requirement for top managers, and another confirmed that interest in this quality had flared relatively recently: in 2000–2010.
3: Technical and technological skills
In third place among the most valuable traits for a COO situated technical skills are situated, especially full awareness in a particular area of their competence — for example, in law, finance or IT. Respondents focused on technical and technological literacy. “A top manager must understand what role technology plays in his organization and how to use them,” said one specialist.
However, industry-specific and financial knowledge and skills remain valid.
4: The ability to build relationships and create a team
Many consultants look out for seekers’ features who contribute to the organization of the effective team. It matters have got the ability not only to gather but also to lead people so that the team works smoothly.
“A great leader should assemble a team people with exceptionally strong in leadership qualities and lead it further. No one wins alone, ”one of the respondents warned, and the other added that the modern leader must “focus not on his own interests, but on the improvement of the team.”
“The bosses more don’t sit out in the offices,” said one consultant, they become “team-oriented, constantly work in multitasking mode, lead without ranks and regalia, withstand stress, make sure that subordinates don’t burn out, and all this with a wide smile on his face and an open to all office.”
Another respondent described the modern company as a whole as a well-coordinated team, and called the primary responsibility of the manager “to lead and develop his team, starting with the top managers, and ending with the “staff-at-large.”
5: The ability to show of yourself and communicate
All the experts agreed that the ideal leader should have the gift of conviction and the talent to present himself and his ideas: “the intellectual capacity to communicate with the widest range of stakeholders,” as one of my interlocutors said. The task isn’t simple, because now there are much more interested people than before.
To convince a wide variety of audiences, both knowledgeable and not aware, inside and outside the company, friendly or skeptical, requires considerable flexibility of mind and style.
Some experts believe that the best job seeker should be ready to work on the board of directors, others highlight the ability to “influence on business development and the work of the client department” or increase the “value of the organization.”
Also, top managers should maintain good relations outside the company. “The ability to show yourself has become the key to success,” one of the respondents argues.“ “In the future, its importance will only increase, as the media, government, employees, shareholders, and lawmakers are interested in the life of a big business.”
There was also a warning: the leaders have to “speak in front of a stubborn audience.” And finally, top managers should be receptive to new information and be able to analyze it.
6: Change management
The demand for the ability to manage change is rising — a trait that until recently wasn’t recognized and valued. HR specialists have noted that more and more often they are instructed to find a candidate who would be an “engine of change,” could make “transformations or reforms,” would unite the team for “decisive changes.”
One thoughtful consultant said that “change management” concerning this position usually means not so much a readiness for radical reforms that transform the entire company, but rather the ability to live consistently in a fluid and transitional state.
“The manager has to be an “agent of change,” he explained. “He should be tuned to constant improvements and building of relationships, establishing processes and systems, improving commercial relations, increasing market share, and developing leadership.”
Another consultant expressed the opinion that companies that need a creator of change often prefer persons from the outside because they “will bring in new skills and a new worldview, which will contribute to significant positive changes and growth.”
Of course, honesty cannot be called a particular skill, but the reputation of a person who always complies with ethical standards is valued, according to experts interviewed by us, very, very highly.
One of them even said that “ethics is beyond doubt” is required. Another recalled that earlier this emphasis wasn’t made, but now the issue of reputation came to the fore”. “Personal integrity, ethical standards have become much more important, because the information has become distributed much faster.”
Another comment: “Organizations are testing the “acceptability” of candidates for leadership positions in terms of investors, legislators, and government agencies.”
Translated from the Business guide