Selecting the next CEO, the future leader, is a crucial responsibility of the CEO and board of directors in any organization. However, the question arises: What kind of leader should they choose for the future?
While most companies already have a list of characteristics associated with outstanding leadership, the evolving market demands, technological advancements, and changing business landscape necessitate a new set of skills and qualities for identifying the next CEO.
Adhering to an outdated list of traits from a decade or more ago can limit the organization’s perspective and hinder them from capitalizing on new opportunities, resulting in a loss of competitive advantage.
So, what type of future leader should they seek?
Outlined below are five significant characteristics that leaders should consider when selecting a future leader who can drive the organization’s success:
- Global Perspective
The future will be greatly influenced by globalization. Previously, companies could primarily focus on their own country or region, but those days are nearly over. Future leaders will likely need to gain international exposure to grasp how cross-border trade can benefit their organizations and give them a competitive edge.
- Valuing Cultural Diversity
Motivational strategies that work in one culture may not be well-received in another. What may be a source of pride for a salesperson in the USA could cause embarrassment to a scientist in the UK. Empathetic leaders who can understand, appreciate, and motivate colleagues from diverse cultural backgrounds will be highly valued resources in the future.
- Technological Proficiency
Being technologically savvy will be a crucial competency for future global leaders, as indicated by high-potential leaders worldwide. The younger the participant, the greater emphasis they placed on the importance of technological proficiency.
- Establishing Partnerships
Building partnerships and alliances will hold greater significance for future leadership compared to the past. Many organizations that previously avoided alliances now regularly form them. This trend will become even more critical for future leaders.
As reengineering, restructuring, and downsizing continue, outsourcing non-core activities may become the norm. The ability to negotiate complex alliances and manage intricate networks of relationships will increasingly be valued.
The evolving roles of customers, suppliers, and partners have profound implications for leaders. In the past, it was clear who were your “friends” and “enemies.” However, roles are now becoming more blurred. In sectors like energy, telecommunications, and pharmaceuticals, the same organization can be a customer, supplier, partner, or competitor.
- Shared Leadership
In a future where leading across fluid networks may surpass traditional hierarchical leadership, effective sharing of leadership becomes imperative. In an alliance structure, dictating terms to partners can quickly result in the loss of partnerships. All parties must collaborate to achieve common goals.
Participants not only believed that the future leader would differ from past leaders but also anticipated that future employees would be different. Many future leaders recognized that managing knowledge workers would be a critical factor in their success. Knowledge workers possess more expertise in their fields than their managers. Therefore, old leadership models will not suffice when dealing with knowledge workers, as noted by Peter Drucker.