Our Next Leader
Principles of Personal & Organizational Leadership
Our Next Leader
The leadership that has been established over the last 25 years of the firm have been excellent. This firm has grown to be a global firm with numerous physical locations and tons of remote employees across the globe. We have built a brand, one that has global wholesalers selling our products all over the world. Our past president has retired, and it is time for us to make the right hire. We need to ensure we hire someone the exemplifies the right traits of an effective leader. We need a leader that has the correct leadership style and skills needed to carry this firm for the next 25 years. Our next leader needs to be able to attend to the right tasks and continue or establish the correct relationships. We need a leader that can continue and enhance our vision and set the tone as we move forward into new or unknown waters. Our fearless leader needs to be able to handle conflicts promptly and overcome them with ease and not only do they need to meet our ethical standards as a firm but to elevate us to be better collectively as firm.
Leadership involves setting a vision, generating the energy to grow and sustain the vision, mobilizing collective action around this vision, collaborating with others, and valuing the diverse expressions of leadership. To effectively achieve this, there are a number of competencies that are required. These competencies and activities must be practiced, reflected on, and refined. Leadership requires self-awareness and self-reflection as we critically assess our capacity in the various competency areas and set goals for continuous leadership development. Self-reflection helps us uncover the beliefs that inform our action and assess whether and how to modify our action to serve our own and others’ interests.
That is why when we are establishing and sustaining relationships we need to make sure our next CEO demonstrates the ability to interact with others to develop trusting relationships and sustain collaborative partnerships with the people within the organization, as well as the public and outside influencers. Our new CEO needs to be able to demonstrate a sense of self-awareness; an understanding of one’s strengths and challenges; an ability to self-regulate, monitor one’s actions, and set goals for continuous learning. Communication is another trait needed to be an effective leader, as demonstrated by the ability to create and share meaning through effective oral and written communication, engage in active and empathic listening, and understand and communicate to diverse audiences. A willingness to develop others by demonstrating through mentorship and authentic communication in partnerships with others to help them identify and achieve their goals, cultivating an environment that fosters individual and team learning. Making informed decisions and solving problems as demonstrated by having or seeking out appropriate knowledge and expertise in order to formulate the strongest solutions to emerging problems and/or situations, acting ethically throughout the decision-making process, and having the courage to take responsibility for the outcome.
Our new CEO needs to be able to negotiate and manage conflict by having the willingness to listen to all perspectives, mediate across differences, appropriately express concern, and identify productive solutions for moving forward. In the process of negotiating and managing conflict our leader needs to be able to act with an awareness of social and cultural dynamics by embracing a value for learning about social and cultural difference; listening to the stories of others without judgement; acting with generosity while confronting misinformation; and actively creating a just community. They will also need to be able to adapt to change and think creatively. Flexibility in thought and action will create engagement for all that will allow for reflective practice that can be used to inform change and seek out innovative ideas and solutions; and providing stability and meaning for collaborators in the midst of change. Demonstrate a system thinking approach ultimately will show how the effect of one will affect the work of all; developing an understanding of the interconnections within and between organization or communities and their environments. Finally, the trait of practicing well-being is required to develop insights and habits of regularly assessing one’s own quality of life and facilitating the well-being in others; creating and sustaining positive relationships and finding equanimity and resiliency in the face of adversity; and demonstrating pro-social behaviors and emotions (compassion, gratitude, joy, cooperation).
Along with the listed traits to be a successful leader, certain leadership styles and skills will be needed for the position as well. It’s important to acknowledge the traits but it is what you do with the traits that will ultimately make you successful. Having a flexible style where you can go from one style to next is not exactly that easy. Maurer (2013), shares that “great leaders have multiple leadership styles in their toolkit, and they are adept at diagnosing situations and using the right leadership styles at the right times” (para. 3). The CEO is need to leverage their ability to highlight their directive style not by being a dictator but by establishing clear performance objectives for the firm to follow and outside influences to understand. Essentially, having the ability to simplify the business and articulating what needs to be done or what is going to be done is a few short, direct sentences that are easy to understand and follow. They will alos need to be to show their ability to be supportive. Their ability to be approachable and empathetic, someone that can listen to their people, learn what is or isn’t working and be empathic when decisions may be tough. We will need someone that is going to be willing to get their hands dirty, roll up their sleeves and work hard to achieve buy-in from everyone in and around the firm. They got to be able to participate and travel to meet our team across the globe and ask for them to engage in the decision-making process. Our leader needs to have an achievement-oriented mindset and push the right buttons at the right time to help the firm reach higher and push through goals. To do this, trust needs to be in place with their leadership teams and allow them autonomy to get things done. Have belief and know that we have the right team in place to achieve our goals and to consistently show this confidence. Lastly, our CEO needs to be transformational. We need someone that can aspire and lead us through vision. We want to stay out and ahead of the game, we need someone that is looking to the future, willing to take necessary risks and inspire employees and shareholders to believe in the common goals that we want to achieve as a firm going forward. Situations will arise where multiple styles will be needed in moments while other moments only one style will be needed but just like their traits, their ability to show multiple styles will be key in our success.
Northouse (2018) shares “good leaders understand the work that needs to be done and, at the same time, can relate to the people who help them do the job” (sec. 5, para. 1). A great leader is always attending to tasks and relationships, at times one is needed more than the other. Our next CEO needs to understand and explore their personal styles and understand that a balance is required. When our leader is focused on goals they want us to achieve they are focused on the task at hand, and when our leader is focused on connecting with the people of the organization they are focused on the relationship style. The balance here is making sure the organization is staying to task while staying the present and having a grasp on the people. This can be a delicate balance, why? Because, if we move to quickly to get ahead of a goal we set we may live some of our people behind. We need to understand who we, where we are, and what we are doing, and our leader needs to be to see, touch, feel, and understand this.
Having a vision, is having an understanding of the pulse of the firm. The CEO needs to be able to set the tone by providing a clear understanding of values and ethics. This is the most important step we can make when hiring the next CEO of the firm. I stand behind what Keith Darcy (2014) shared
“The starting point for setting the tone begins with the organization’s governing authority; generally, this means the board of directors. The board’s most fundamental tasks would typically include hiring the CEO, approving strategy, monitoring execution of the plan, setting risk appetite and exercising appropriate oversight regarding risk mitigations, with the underlying goal of preserving and creating shareholder value. The board sets the tone of the organization in the way that it executes these responsibilities. However, perhaps no single decision drives tone at the top more than the selection of the CEO. That process should focus on competence, character and chemistry. Boards must provide appropriate weight to each consideration.”
The CEO is the face of the organization and the singular leader that our employees across the firm will ultimately look to turn to for guidance, leadership, and vision. Our CEO will need to be able to consistently stay credible and relay our values utilize any and all platforms necessary to make the appropriate connect. We need an open leader that is always willing to share who they are, what they are about, and an undeniable focus to live and breathe the core values and principles of the firm.
Essentially, when a leader can provide a vision and live that vision day-in and day-out they should not lack the communication skills or social skills that are needed to relate to everyone throughout the organization. The CEO needs to be able to understand potential out-group members, hear them, engage with them and inspire them. The CEO needs to be able to handle conflict in a professional and respectable way. There doesn’t always need to be solution or an agreement, but they need to be informed, empathic, and articulative to ensure that they can show the ability to listen, understand, and share the thoughts and values of the firm with any and all people associated. Northouse (2018) highlights “out-group members are either in conflict with or avoiding community. Because the community may seem threatening, unfamiliar, or uninteresting to them, some people have a need to pull away from community. Their action detracts from the community being able to use all of its resources to reach a common goal” (sec. 10.1). It is important that the CEO shares in the concerns and avoids the negativity of these groups from spreading to far. They need to communicate with the operating team to find ways to enhance these groups and its goals to continue to promote group synergy.
One of the final topics I want to discuss is ensuring that our next CEO excels in ethical leadership. This is the one area in which we need to know for a fact that our leader thrives in. It is important to note that we need to feel comfortable that our next leader will not just take responsibility for the good of the firm but for the bad as well. The next CEO needs to be a role model, always share about the importance of ethical standards, hold themselves and the employees of the firm to highest level of accountability and always be willing to reset those standards when the environment calls for it (Ethical Systems, 2018). The way we can ensure this is by asking how they plan to make ethics a clear priority, how they plan to make ethical culture a part of every personnel-related function, how they would encourage, measure, and reward ethical behavior on all levels of the firm. We need to make sure that our next CEO has a moral identity, that they are thorough, careful, and vigilant.
This is a global firm, one that has stood on many years of success, with outstanding leadership of the last 25 years. It is a firm that is consistently engaged in the ever-changing world of consumer technology with employees remotely engaged all over the world. Having a CEO that can be charismatic, authentic, courageous, and wise will benefit this company greatly. Having a leader that has the self-awareness and responsibility to engage multiple different leadership styles to cultivate a purpose and communicate a vision to set the tone is key. One that embraces conflict and understands empathy may sometimes lead to resolution instead of force to overcome obstacles. Being in the moment, having a willingness to roll up their sleeves and get to work with the rest of the people in the organization to do what is necessary to keep it moving forward is key to ensure all voices are heard and no one gets left behind.
Darcy, K. & Sandford, N. (2014). Building tone at the top: the role of the ceo, board and cco. The wall street journal. Retrieved from https://deloitte.wsj.com/riskandcompliance/2014/12/15/building-tone-at-the-top-the-role-of-the-ceo-board-and-coo/
Ethical systems, business integrity through research. (2018). Leadership. Retrieved from https://www.ethicalsystems.org/content/leadership
George Mason University, Masonleads. (2018). Core leadership values. Retrieved from https://masonleads.gmu.edu/about-us/core-leadership-values/
Maurer, T. (2013, November 27). 5 leadership styles for effective management. The university of Vermont continuing and distance education. Retrieved by https://learn.uvm.edu/blog-business/5-leadership-styles-what-styles-do-you-use
Northouse, P. G. (2018). Introduction to leadership: Concepts and practice (4 ed.). Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/