Business leaders around the world today are faced with unprecedented challenges, the likes of which they’ve never encountered before. But as Stuart Wilde reminds us, “In a time of crisis we all have the potential to morph up to a new level and do things we never thought possible”.
So what are the skills that executives need to learn to step up to the plate and demonstrate their leadership qualities? How can they steer their organisations through this new world of work? What must they do to adapt themselves while also ensuring their businesses remain agile in an uncertain and changing economic landscape?
Titles may carry a certain cachet but they don’t mean anything unless you practise what you preach. The leadership journey is one of self-discovery and self-awareness, where you grow by experiencing and embracing many different challenges – while importantly learning from mistakes as you go along. Whether during (relatively) normal or highly volatile times, you need to call on the same set of fundamental characteristics.
‘A commitment to human beings’
Some of these attributes will be magnified during extreme circumstances like the ones confronting the global economy in 2020 and beyond. We hear and read a lot about empathetic leadership, for example caring about people, especially in the new remote working reality that we find ourselves in. Having a culture of recognition, one that values the efforts of your people, is key. As Charles-Henri Dumon categorically puts it, “Leadership is always a commitment to human beings and their wellbeing. If you don’t have that, you can’t be a leader.”
The best leaders need a mix of courage and confidence in their own decision making, combined with the humility to listen to others. They are also masters at man-management, rallying the troops in face of adversity and keeping morale high at all times. They are expert communicators who remain close to their people, they foster trust and loyalty. But they must always seek to improve and grow both professionally and personally.
Whatever the period of time, leaders will have to navigate and deal with difficult conditions. From courage and resilience to humility and self-awareness, there are some attributes that will never change. Leaders will always need to adapt – both their interpersonal skills and management styles – and they will need to reflect on and learn from mistakes. They must also constantly redefine their roles and face their fears.
Develop your leadership potential
The demands on leaders have never been greater – it’s not a job for everyone. Those that do excel will develop and fine-tune their skills over time, thereby fulfilling their potential and maximising their performance.
If you’re looking for expert guidance to help build your confidence as a leader in these unheralded times and to better understand the areas you need to focus on and the qualities you need to refine, check out our short video below. You can find out more about our full Talent Consulting offering here.