Skills that define a successful CEO
Globalization has highlighted the interconnections between the categories of stakeholders involved with a company, from suppliers to customers and from employees to shareholders. Skills that define a successful CEO are different now.
The financial results remain important, but it has become clear that today CEOs need to correlate excellent financial results with the positive impact they create for the team and the community.
Companies no longer create value just by marketing products. This value must also be appreciated by stakeholders, and an important validation perspective is sustainability itself.
Investor vigilance forces companies’ management to consider the ability to balance profit and social impact as an important requirement for any new CEO and members of his management team.
We present here the four sets of skills that are very important for the general managers who run the companies in this period with extremely complex challenges.
Skills that ensure the growth of the company
The general managers must know how to manage the company to ensure the expected growth and profit. From this point of view, traditional skills such as strategic thinking, the ability to understand market forces, excellent financial insight, strong negotiation skills, and decision making in environments characterized by uncertainty continue to be essential skills. CEOs must excel.
But in a world where the very definition of success changes dramatically and where the views of many stakeholders can have an impact on the organization’s survival, these traditional performance skills have become only a fraction of what is needed for future CEOs. They are the entry ticket, but they do not determine the winner. What else is needed? The list of key new skills includes: digital transformation management, hybrid team coordination, change management and agile leadership.
Collaborative problem solving skills
Problem solving is one of the key leadership skills. Many CEOs spend a lot of time putting out fires and resolving customer, company, and team issues. Leaders are the ones their colleagues follow and often have the final say on the course of action.
The general managers together with the other members of the team must identify new solutions, predict the consequences of the various scenarios analyzed and test their theories in low-risk work environments. They must then communicate openly, promptly and transparently with the entire team about the trends, results, issues and changes needed.
CEOs need to know how to solve problems within groups, because work is now defined by communication and collaborative problem solving. More contributions means a greater variety of ideas, and a leader must know how to choose the best ideas from the group.
CEOs also need to learn how to guide their teammates through the problem-solving process, instead of automatically providing solutions to every problem that arises. This approach helps teams to be autonomous and resilient.
Coaching skills for team development
The ability and desire to grow in the team is one of the most outstanding qualities of good leaders, either at the level of executive directors or even CEOs.
Less experienced managers often make the mistake of rushing to solve supervisors’ problems instead of teaching them and creating the conditions for them to become self-sufficient. This mistake is a major one that generates “delegation up”, a phenomenon that blocks the long-term development of the team.
On the other hand, experienced managers know that they have a responsibility to help those around them become the best version of themselves. These leaders have talent for coaching and help their colleagues reach their true potential.
General managers of this type have excellent facilitation skills, they know how to guide team members to the solution without giving an answer, they know how to stimulate ideas, how to provide encouragement and motivate the team.
These skills are trained and refined even before they become managers or leadership positions, through complex coaching skills development programs, emotional intelligence, mindfulness and agile leadership.
Skills that generate positive social impact
Because company leaders need to manage value creation for all stakeholders, they start by listening to them and taking their opinions seriously. In this regard, CEOs need to learn to embrace the different perspectives of stakeholders that they may have preferred to ignore in the past.
The strategic perspective is no longer limited to the company and the field of activity, but extends to the entire value generation chain. Sustainability and commitment to environmental protection, social support and corporate governance (ESG) is the mission of the CEO and the management team.
Regardless of industry, CEOs need skills to strategically shape a continuous cycle of ESG assessment, prioritization, implementation of decision-making measures, measurement of progress and reporting to stakeholders.
General managers know that they are becoming role models for the team. Beyond financial results, agility and resilience, they are concerned with the well-being of people, especially in these demanding times. Empathy, compassion and self-awareness are also part of the new skills of leaders.
Alina Făniță este CEO și Partener al PKF Finconta. A lucrat cu companii multinaționale sau firme antreprenoriale din domenii diverse de activitate, pentru a le oferi servicii de audit financiar, due diligence, restructurări de grupuri, audit intern și alte servicii conexe activității de control intern. Este membră a celor mai prestigioase asociații profesionale din domeniu: ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), CECCAR (Corpul Experților Contabili și Contabililior Autorizați din România), CAFR (Camera Auditorilor Financiari) și IIA (Institute of Internal Auditors). A absolvit EMBA Asebuss la Kennesaw State University, a fost trainer pentru cursuri IFRS și este invitată ca expert la numeroase conferințe de business. firstname.lastname@example.org