Top 3 Leadership Skills Desired by Board of Directors
Investors are usually attracted towards companies that have great potential, not only in the present, but also in the future. That means, business organizations are always on the lookout for talented and skilled leaders who possess the top 3 leadership skills most desired and can contribute greatly to their goals. When it comes to interviewing leaders, Executive hiring managers are keen on how you value yourself in terms of potential to be a part of their organization. The competition is fierce; as a potential candidate, you need to stand out.
Most candidates have earned degrees that are complimentary for the role he / she seeks, but if you are looking for a way to put yourself in a new level from your competition, you need
Top 3 Leadership Skills include Social and Organizational Skills
In every profession you take, communications skills are crucial. Being articulate is the top skill that executive hiring managers seek in candidates. Effective solutions, innovative concepts, and new techniques may not do any changes when you cannot get your ideas into words to relay to senior executives, investors, and/or colleagues. Communication skills also include attentive listening, speaking fluently, and organized writing. As such, social skills are at the forefront of the top 3 leadership skills most desired by the Board of Directors.
Executive hiring managers need leaders who can explain what others are talking about and also arrange these thoughts, ideas, and concepts in a comprehensive manner. Even if you are working remotely and your connection to your company is through the computer, you still need efficient communications skills to interact with your colleagues, clients, and team through chats, video conferencing, phone, and emails.
Working in a business organization means that you will be working with people. Communication does not only mean relaying what you want to express through words, but through your actions as well. Most, if not all jobs require effective social skills to interact efficiently with their colleagues, clients, suppliers, and senior management. Working within teams needs competent social communications that can maximize productivity and resolve issues. Knowing when to engage in interactions that is either casual or professional with colleagues and clients, because senior management want their leaders and employees to have good relationships with everyone.
Being organized leads to being efficient and transparent. Organized documents, efficient schedule management, coordinating resources, and effective task designation. When you follow an organization, it is easier for not only senior management, but for the team you lead to know and understand how you work. Being organized can mean from how well you arrange your desk and files, how you send reports at a certain period of time, and how often you have team meetings to update on everyone’s progress. As one of the top 3 leadership skills desired, companies need leaders who can stay focused on projects and remain organized until it is completed. One of the most important organization skills is to meet deadlines. Using time wisely makes all the difference between success and failure of your company.
Top 3 Leadership Skills includes Motivations
Senior management needs people who can identify problems and solve them. Critical thinking helps in seeing beyond the information presented all the time. Analyzing allows you to think up of new angles on how to approach a problem. There may be better ways to solve this particular problem that hadn’t been tried yet previously. Problem solving helps us make decisions amidst challenges. Whether problems are big or small, you have to analyze it in different angles and solve problems as quickly as possible. This why motivations is one of the top 3 leadership skills desired.
Motivation skills are important when you are interacting with colleagues and clients. People do better when they love what they are doing. When you are motivated, you find it easier to get up during the morning and look forward your day in the office. The compensation, including options and/or equity, can motivate you, but senior management and investors / stakeholder want to hire leaders that can contribute to their organization’s goals and success. Motivation can help you cope with stress and handle problems in the workplace well and is ideal in succession planning.
Senior Executive Management and Functional Leadership Recruitment
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Leadership Traits Growing the Leader from Within Yourself
Leadership traits are defined by what we do, not the role we are in. Leadership is action, not a position. Some people in leadership roles are excellent leaders. But too many are bosses, “snoopervisors,” technocrats, bureaucrats, managers, commanders, chiefs, and the like. Whether in enterprise mobility, manufacturing, or consumer devices, strong leaders are well-rounded and constantly expanding their personal leadership traits across these key areas.
Leadership Traits in Functional Management Roles
To lead is to show the way by going in advance. To lead is to guide or direct a course of action. To lead is to influence the behavior or opinion of others. We all need to be leaders, regardless of our formal title or role. This starts with inner leadership traits in self-leadership and moves outward to influence, guide, support, and lead others.The process of becoming a leader is the same as the process of becoming a highly effective human being. Leadership development is personal development. Effective leadership traits ultimately shows itself in what we do “out there.” But it starts “in here.”It would be easy if we could all become leaders by following a simple set of steps. But the journey of personal growth means finding our own way. There are, however, critical areas of personal development based on timeless principles. The distance we need to grow along each of the leadership traits dimensions will differ for each of us, but defining and continually growing along each of these paths is the way of the leader.
Expanding Key Personal Leadership Traits
Strong leaders are well-rounded and constantly expanding their personal leadership traits across many areas, however these areas are key:
- Choose Not to Lose. Whether we choose to focus on our problems or our possibilities is a key leadership issue. When we are faced with obstacles and failure, those with the leadership traits who can overcome adversity and learn from their experiences, turning them into opportunities, are the ones who will be truly successful.
- Focus and Context. The core of my being: This is central to our growth along all the other leadership traits dimensions. Our Focus and Context is shaped by three vital questions: Where am I going? (my vision); What do I believe in? (my principles and values) and; Why do I exist? (my purpose or mission).
- Responsibility for Choices. If it’s to be, it’s up to me: Good leadership traits means accepting responsibility for our choices in life. Leaders realize that life accumulates, that choice more than chance determines their circumstances. They refuse to succumb to the “Victimitus Virus” (“it’s all their fault” and “there’s nothing I can do”).
- Authenticity. Getting real: Leadership isn’t just what we do, it’s something that we are, which then drives what we do. Great leadership traits are authentic, and based on honesty, integrity, and trust. We must ring true to ourselves by exploring our inner space, gathering feedback on our personal behavior, and ensuring consistency with our stated values and principles.
- Passion and Commitment. Beyond near-life experiences: Successful people are energized by a love for what they do because it brings them ever closer to who they are. They have the leadership traits that overcome apathy and cynicism, develop a burning commitment to their cause, and with discipline achieve their dreams and desires.
- Spirit and Meaning. With all my heart and soul: What is the purpose of our work? Of our lives? Material success alone is not enough. Leaders seek within their leadership traits and find something more. In what is too often a mad dash from cradle to grave, we need to take time in work and life to nourish our inner selves.
- Growing and Developing. From phase of life to way of life: The popular goals of security, stability, and predictability are deadly. The closer we get to these dangerous goals, the more our growth is stunted. Good leadership traits will reflect true and lasting security comes from constant growth and development, based on regular reflection and renewal.
- Mobilizing and Energizing. Putting emotions in motion: Leaders don’t motivate with rewards and punishments. Whether at home or in the workplace, they energize people to motivate themselves. Highly effective leaders who possess ethical leadership traits boost the energy of others with their passion and appreciation. They engage people’s hearts as well as their minds.
Effective Leadership Traits Make a Difference
The more the world changes, the more leadership principles stay the same. And effective leadership traits apply to all of us; no matter what role we play in society or organizations. NextGen Global Executive Search uses a proprietary Performance Based Retained Search to recruit exceptional executives with good leadership traits. Contact us today for a free consultation or demo of our proven executive recruitment process.
Difficult Conversations – Poor Executive Performance ……… and How to Avoid It
Dealing with a poor executive performance can be frustrating. It can be complex and time consuming to make sure you get the right result – an improvement in their performance, or failing that, them being managed out of the organisation in a fair and legal way.It is likely you will meet with a poor executive performance from senior management at least twice; the first time to tell them how their performance is ineffective and set targets for improvement, and the second to review their progress and decide about their future. In practice, you may have several other steps to follow, but the conversations will follow the same pattern, and if you master that pattern, you will find it easier to deal with any conversation about performance effectively.
And what is the pattern? You prepare. You talk. You listen. You consider. You decide. You communicate your decision. In basic terms, it is as simple as that.
Preparation involves making sure you know the Board of Directors policy and what authority they or you must make decisions; you know where the poor executive performance falls short (and you have specific examples), you’ve planned how you want the meeting to go, you’ve given the executive appropriate notice and information in accordance with policy, and you’ve identified a suitable time and venue.
Next, you talk. You may have a predetermined structure to follow or perhaps an agenda you have drawn up, in either case, you need to explain the reason for the meeting and what you want to achieve – to discuss the performance issues and what needs to be done about them. Then you give them the evidence of their performance shortfalls.
Now you give the executive the opportunity to talk and you need to listen. The quickest way to make sure someone doesn’t engage with you is to make them think you’re ignoring what they say. And the only way you are going to get an improvement in performance is if they are working harder, better, or differently. You need their participation. That said, if they refuse to make the effort, then you can still act. It’s not about handing over control. It’s about managing the situation.
It may be that there are some issues that you’re not aware of. They may not have been properly mentored to carry out that objective or task. They may have to rely on a third party which is causing the problems. They may have a health problem that impacts on their ability. There can be as many reasons as there are staff.
They may also get emotional. You might face anger or distress. You can never tell how someone will react until you’re in that situation. Don’t let this side-track you. If they become too emotional to carry on, take a break, but always make sure you get back to the matter at hand. As a rule, having evidence of poor executive performance issues makes it easier to deal with any emotional reactions since it is harder to ignore facts. It also helps you deal with those who might use an emotional reaction as a tactic to delay the discussion.
This leads neatly on to considering the information you now have. No effective Board member makes a business decision without having the relevant facts or without weighing the options. Performance management is as much a business decision as any other issue you will face. Compensation is not the biggest budgetary outgoing, as in reality poor executive performance can cause a damaging ripple or delay in carrying out the business strategy or impact your market share or customer confidence and that can cost not only millions over the course of two or three years. Dealing with poor executive performance issues is a key opportunity to ensure you get the best return on that investment.
Decide What to do about Poor Executive Performance
Now you have the decision to make. You’ll know from your preparation which options are open to you: it may be a verbal or written warning, it may be dismissal. Whatever it is, ensuring that you have been fair and followed policy will mean your decision is more likely to stand if the executive decides to challenge it. It would be unfortunate to end up fighting a legal battle and losing, just for the sake of following the process properly.
Once you have made your decision, you need to communicate it in the most appropriate way. Face-to-face is usually best, with written confirmation including an action plan. This should be given to him/her as quickly as possible to both capitalise on the momentum from your discussion and to reinforce its importance. There should also be clear demarcation between responsibilities, especially since the executive is the only one who can improve their performance.
And how do you know if you get it right? The executive goes away knowing what they should do, how they must do it, when they need to do it by, they have no illusions about the part they must play, they know the support they can expect from you the most senior management and the Board of Directors, and they understand the consequences of not meeting their targets.
And finally, it can be uncomfortable for any CXO or Board member having to have these discussions with one of their executives, but if you do it in a fair, reasonable, and supportive way, you can be their biggest ally, even if, in the end, it doesn’t work out.
How to Avoid Poor Executive Performance
Studies from Leadership IQ, SHRM, and many others have revealed repeatedly that the most failure by executives is lack of interpersonal skills. But really it goes much deeper than that. The executive may have outstanding KPIs and accomplishments throughout their career, but in this instance, seems to be failing. It is not always the individual’s fault as changes to the most senior executive staff or ownership of the company can also be a key reason for poor executive performance.
One of the first things we do at NextGen Global Executive Search is to use scientifically based psychometric surveys of the team an executive role will be working with. Depending on the level of the role, this could include Board members, CXOs, SVP, internal customers, and in the case of a vital role in sales or support, we include key external customers.
The resulting data is compiled from these 5 to 8 surveys into a Composite Team Analysis. It tells us the values and motivations, relational communications style, decision making and management traits of the team.This in turn gives our staff a good idea of the target candidate profile from a team fit perspective. The easy part, as any good retained executive search consultant will tell you, is finding a good role fit takes a lot of hard work and documented proof to insure you have the right shortlist. Even on difficult searches – I’ve had several of “finding the needled in the haystack” where there were a very limited number of individuals who could meet/exceed the role objectives, it’s still the easier part of a search.Before proceeding with cold calling and networking, we develop a Search Strategy that details what we are looking for in role fit, team fit, measurable past KPIS, relevance and depth of industry relationships, investor relationships, market cap, market share, turnaround where appropriate, etc. After all, the entire reason for retaining an executive search consultant is because you want the “A players” brought forth, the 14% of the entire workforce that produces 8 to 10 times more than B players. With CXO and SVP roles, you cannot afford to miss. Same goes for key functional leaders, so that’s not limited to the most senior executives.Now let’s get back to how you can potentially avoid poor executive performance and IMPROVE it. If your retention rate starts to go down, market share or customer support is dropping, revenues are declining, or poor morale seems to be increasing, the worst thing you can do is panic or make staffing decisions based solely on those metrics.
Before doing so, entertain the low cost involved with scientifically based Team Alignment and Individual Team Performance. We’ve done this for several clients – big and small – and what we have found is that some individuals are simply on the wrong team or that the teams themselves were simply improperly aligned to succeed. It goes back to team fit. Each department in any organization has different teams and those teams are made up of individu
als. Having too many similar strengths and weaknesses means a team cannot learn and produce effectively.
The counterbalance of any team is having an effective leader, a coach, a technical or sales mentor, an interpersonal skills expert, a geek, etc. – if properly aligned these seemingly different individuals have the right balance of identified strengths and weaknesses that those traits can be effective through action plans.
In a very short time, realignment and proper positioning of teams can increase production dramatically.
How many of you have ever used this method? For more information, view information and download for free an example Team Staff Alignment Report
Fundamental Leadership Training is Key to your Company’s Success
Successful businesses are identified by their fundamental leadership training as they go hand in hand. Such executive managers are individuals who have been properly vetted, trained, and placed in positions where they can thrive. But getting there requires following a carefully crafted plan to ensure each leader’s success. By adhering to fundamental leadership training, companies can avoid mistakes and the consequences of the same.
Appoint a mentor. Assign each new leadership a mentor, preferably a seasoned senior executive who can offer moral support, answer questions, and discuss solutions to problems.
Monitor and provide feedback. An initial key in fundamental leadership training is that every new leadership hire enters a learning curve and works toward a goal of becoming an independent leader. Your company must outline concrete steps to help each individual reach expected goals or thresholds along the way. Monitor the new senior management hire’s progress and provide feedback as needed. Take corrective action when necessary.
Supply supplemental training courses. Courses including elevating decision making, best leadership ethics, problem-solving methodology, entrepreneurial leadership, and customer experience are just a few options available. Review executive evaluation procedures.
Good Onboarding is Part of Fundamental Leadership Training
While HR policies work for most employees, the executive evaluation process is unique in that it measures the impact on the company’s essential point. Many companies make the fatal mistake of using a one-size-fits-all onboarding process driven by Human Resources which is really nothing more than an abridged orientation. Onboarding must be customized for each new leadership hire.
Articulate management systems. Besides understanding HR policies, equip new leaders with the tools necessary to conduct performance reviews, and manage discipline issues.
Understand work styles. No two leaders are alike, with unique personalities and work styles evident. Make allowance for differences, while also helping trainees identify their strengths and weaknesses. Use this information to form management teams where different levels of managers complement each other.
Solve problems before they spiral out of control. Conflict is a human element, although most people do not acknowledge it, choosing to avoid the same. Fundamental leadership training includes conflict resolution strategies in place and enable all senior managers to take their problems to the top.
Ensuring Success with Fundamental Leadership Training
A carefully implemented and executed management training program is your business’ assurance that the people you appoint are the best ones suited for the position. Anything less and employee morale, customer satisfaction, and business profitability will suffer, leading to high turnover costs and potential harm to your enterprise.
Need an experienced retained executive search consultant?
Beware of the big-name retained search firms as they collect the entire fee regardless of delivery and even if you made no offer or hired opne of the candidates they presented. Other than a few principals who manage the search firm, their recruiters are a revolving door of inexperience as they come and go according to economic times. Consider a smaller retained executive search firm where the recruiters have stayed for many years and gained solid expetise and reputation for bringing fotyh candidates who will meet or exceed the objectives of the senior management or functional leadership role you need to fill.
Combined with performance based search fees based on meeting deliverables and the hire and an industry leading 24 to 36 month replacement guarantee, NextGen Global Executive Search should be your preferred search firm. Click on the image below to contact us today.
Customer Loyalty – Improving it with Engagement and Support
Customer Loyalty Statistics
- For every customer complaint, there are 26 other customers who have remained silent. 9 out of 10 unsatisfied customers would not willingly do business with your organization again.
~ Source: Lee Resource Inc.
- 19 out of 20 satisfied customers who get their issue resolved will return and tell on average 5 people about their experience.
~ Source: White House Office of Consumer Affairs, Washington, DC
Whether you are a CEO, an Account Exec, or an independent consultant and whether your business is pizza, financial services, earthmovers, or volunteer services, you want to avoid the first two above. On the positive side, you hope your business falls into the category of the third bullet where you can grow & improve your customer loyalty.
What these three key business stats have in common is that they measure customer behavior, specifically the behavior of returning – whether it is to buy again or just give you feedback. Returning customers are loyal customers, people who have an emotional and relational investment in you because of how they have been treated, whether they are individual buyers or they represent their companies.
Think of your customer.
- Do you serve an “external” customer, one who purchases your company’s products and services? Then, you might be in Sales, Account Management, Customer Service, or Field Service.
- Or do you serve an “internal” customer, one who (by choice or not) receives your work product or service. In this scenario, you might never interact with an external customer, but you still have an impact on the eventual result.
- You might be in HR, Talent Acquisition, IT, Engineering, Logistics, Office Management or a similar internal function.
What Is Customer Loyalty and Why Is It So Important?
Whoever your customers are, are they delighted with you?
Are they so thrilled with your products and services, that they will do business with you when your prices are a little higher than the competition?
Will they forgive you one or two small mistakes and still return?
Have your customers become your best “sales” people because they rave about their experiences with your businesses?
Will internal customers always come back to you or will they outsource your service?
And if they cannot outsource, do they rate your services as a loyal, returning customer would?
Loyal internal customers will help you improve because they are relational and maybe fiscally invested in you and your operation. All business organizations hope their customers keep coming back, and loyal customers are the best foundation for a sustainable future. As a culture of customer loyalty takes hold throughout your organization:
- Engagement improves,
- Innovation flourishes,
- Teamwork grows,
- And, everyone becomes focused on how his or her results affect the eventual loyal customer.
Adopting customer loyalty as a management, company-wide objective to be continuously improved is critical to the success of business in our socially networked and increasingly competitive service environment.
Points of Connection
Your external or internal customers’ points of connection most directly impact customer loyalty. A point of connection is any interaction a customer has with one of your employees or one of your business processes. Points of connection define the customer loyalty from the inside out and determine how a customer rates the service received and ultimately how the business is referred or criticized. As the graphic explains, these 6 points of connection are applicable and important for serving both external and internal customers. Imagine for a minute you crafted a scorecard, which could be used by your team to measure customer loyalty in terms of these 6 criteria (you could customize as appropriate). On a performance scale of 1 (worst) to 5 (best), your customer can paint a picture of how he/she feels about doing business with you:
- How are we at listening to you, discovering your plans, uncovering your needs, and staying current about your business?
- Do you feel like you and your needs are important to me and my department or company?
- If there are differences of opinion or misunderstandings, do we address them professionally, openly, and without delay?
- Do you feel confident that we are being 100% honest and truthful about our proposals and solutions?
- Do we do what we say we are going to do?
- Do you feel everyone you deal with on our team is being authentic?
Evaluating these points of connection, and the opinions your customer expresses about them, are valid for both external and internal customers. But how many businesses evaluate the customer loyalty awareness and contributions of their internal departments?
From the Inside Out – Relational Sustainability
The business strategy of “sustainability” has been part of C-Level vocabulary for many years and it can mean different things to a CEO and his/her executive team depending on the business they are in. Manufacturing companies need to be mindful of environmental waste regulations. Companies in service industries such as insurance and finance focus on energy consumption of their buildings and the recycling efforts of their paper. Businesses of all types and size have Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
But how many of them have Relational Sustainability initiatives to ensure their key relationships remain strong and are long-lasting?
There may not be an official worldwide watchdog agency tracking your company’s carbon foot print and its relational sustainability in the same report, but any business which depends on loyal customers to sustain its growth, and strives to have engaged employees which treat each other as internal customers, will want to sustain its focus on the “five relational building blocks to amazing customer results” as shown below.
Consider a Customer Loyalty Relational Sustainability Workshop
This is designed to raise the level of customer loyalty focus and skills across all parts of your business:
- Consists of 5 weekly workshop sessions, 4 hours each.
- Is practical, interactive, and customized for your business.
- Builds a world-class customer loyalty culture by improving internal relationships using the Points of Connection.
- Focuses on 5 key building blocks, you, your customer(s), your relationship with your customer(s), how to best use your team to support your customer(s), and being goal and results-oriented.
- Delivers to each attendee a detailed, individualized Customer Relationship Business Plan.
Customer Loyalty Summary
- Returning customers are loyal customers and customer loyalty has replaced customer satisfaction as a more important key performance indicator because loyalty helps a business survive market challenges that mere satisfaction cannot do.
- Not only do employees who serve external customers need to understand customer loyalty strategies; employees working in internal and support functions can make significant contributions to the company culture of customer loyalty.
- An executive commitment to a company strategy of customer loyalty will improve employee engagement, innovation, and buy-in that the business is serious about investing in a sustainable future.
- A company’s or department’s customer loyalty can be measured by its Points of Connection performance.
- Training internal employees in the skills that improve customer relationships will improve performance in the Points of Connection. This is what is meant by improving customer loyalty from the inside out.
By the dame token any business, in our case staffing and recruitment, NextGen Executive Search believes in strengthening client relationships and customer loyalty with VC and PE firms, Board members, CXOs, senior hiring managers and candidates alike, as shown by case studies and client testimonials.
Leadership Ethics Inspires Others to Follow your Habits
Leadership ethics inspires others to follow you by looking at your decision making style and your listening habits. In 25 plus years I’ve had the opportunity to work with some great executives who leadershipethics inspires others to follow whose characteristics separate these individuals from the rest.
One of the most compelling definitions of a leader is an individual whose mere presence inspires the desire to follow. When asked if leaders are born or bred, the general consensus is that leadership can be taught. Few have had the opportunity to be formally trained or mentored in proper ethics.
Business Leadership Ethics Inspires Others to Follow
In today’s turbulent world, the type of leadership ethics inspire others to follow are present at a number of executive managers who devote their time and energy to leading the process of value creation. It is this part of an individual that inspires others to follow. We see character as the summation of an individual’s principles, values, and core beliefs by which one anchors and measures their behavior in all roles in life. If character is the summation of our principles and values, then leadership ethics are the application of them.
Business Leadership Ethics, according to Aristotle, is moral virtue that comes about as a result of habit. Ethics has as its root “ethike,” formed by the slight variation of the word ethos (habit). Aristotle explained that moral virtues do not arise in us by nature; we must accept them, embrace them and perfect them by habit.
Leadership consultant and author Linda Fisher Thornton in her book “7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership” (2013) stated that “ethical leaders have a tremendous impact on how people in their organizations behave and what they achieve,” Thornton said. “Effective leaders focus on what’s right and exemplify to their people that they are there to help, and not to exploit the vulnerabilities of others.”
Training for Business Leadership Ethics Inspires Others to Follow
Leadership ethics training in business emphasizes understanding leader values and attributes is only the first step in development. In the business development role, success requires a fusion of who we are as an individual, along with our principles, values, ethics, and their application.
One example is Lockheed Martin, where annual training starts at the very top of their organization. Chairman, President and CEO, Marillyn Hewson, trains her staff who themselves then train their respective teams, and this pattern continues until all employees have participated in a training session facilitated by their manager.
At NextGen Global Executive Search we use a proprietary recruitment model, the Leadership Vault, that measures the values, motivations, decision making and risk-taking traits, relational and interpersonal communications skills, and ethics. At the end of each search we customize a custom mentoring and onboarding tool for the new hire. It is used by clients to assess the new hire assimilation into the role and culture, optimizes the ability meet the Performance Objectives, retained longer, and strengthens his/her leadership ethics.