As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt companies, industries and countries globally, leadership recruitment is more critical than ever. The challenges and impact of today’s uncertain times are forcing organisations to recognise that to survive, they need the right executive team in place, with the right skillsets – which may involve changing their business model and the recruitment of more effective leaders. With this in mind, what type of leaders and C-Suite executives should companies be looking for to help them reach their future ambitions?
Talent acquisition has become more than simply replacing a specific position; it’s about looking beyond the organisation’s immediate needs and considering the future skills required by a company for it to achieve long-term sustainability. The current CEO or Country Head, for example, might be great at tackling yesterday’s challenges but might not have the essential skills needed to exploit necessary opportunities for the company going forward. As ongoing disruption from the likes of Covid has shown, leaders must be able to manage the unexpected, innovate, constantly anticipate, have the ability to withstand change and a readiness to adapt.
There is also the issue of diversity that has become a business-critical imperative and a prominent aspect of C-Suite talent acquisition. Companies need to look for more culturally aware leaders with a global mindset, able to think beyond just the organisation.
Covid has also highlighted the need for a more empathetic and open workplace. Therefore, leaders today need more than just experience and a high IQ; they need emotional intelligence to fully understand and acknowledge a situation, know how to treat people, and accept innovative suggestions from across the organisation.
Once a company understands the leadership skills needed for its organisation to thrive, it’s sensible to undergo a management assessment. This identifies the core leadership skills missing in the organisation and the type of leaders they may need to recruit to help them navigate today’s (and tomorrow’s) constantly changing business landscape.
However, to find these future-ready, diversity-aware, and empathetic new leaders requires looking at a wider pool of international candidates from different sectors or industries. Companies must be brave and allow recruitment to go beyond hiring from direct competitors or the same sector and look at world-class talent in other areas, industries and even countries. This brings new perspectives and easily transferrable capabilities, opening a whole world of available talent beyond the traditional boundaries of old.
If the last year has taught us anything, although some leadership qualities and skills are still vital — determination, effective communication, passion — for strong leadership, it is also essential to be agile, culturally aware, empathetic, innovative and adaptive.
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