Leadership Survey Reveals Critical Implications For Global Talent Landscape
Executives navigating today’s complex business landscape no longer can rely on past experience to drive future performance success, according to a global study released by Egon Zehnder, a privately-owned executive search and talent management consulting firm. The study of more than 800 executives from around the world found that a new leadership paradigm is emerging that shifts away from what leaders know and toward a more personal evaluation of who they are.
Eighty-seven percent of executives said companies will need to think outside the box and be more creative, daring and innovative in their approaches to developing and retaining top executives in the future. The findings suggest that a key indicator for this change is a shift in what underlying skills define a great executive. Seventy-eight percent of executives said past performance is no longer the best predictor of success in a new role and 87 percent noted that strong inter-personal traits are a key differentiator when identifying a truly exceptional leader.
“The financial crisis accelerated a collapse of trust in business leadership, which demands fresh thinking about what is needed from the next generation,” said Damien O’Brien, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Egon Zehnder. “Leaders today must win the hearts and minds of employees and this requires a different type of leadership.”
The survey respondents revealed that only 2 in 10 of their companies consider their organizations very successful in identifying leadership prospects early on and just more than one-fifth see their company’s leadership pipeline as very promising. Compounding the challenge, nearly one-third report it is very difficult for their organizations to attract and hire the best talent from outside.
Mr O’Brien added: “The world is transitioning to different business models which demand new kinds of leaders. Who you are, in the sense of personal character traits and motivation, has become more important than ever. This generation of talent is looking to follow leaders who walk the talk when it comes to values. Companies need to close the leadership gap by identifying executives who naturally align due to their personal character and values.”
When asked what helped executives unleash their own potential, 71 percent of respondents cited assignments which stretched their current skill set and exposed them to new and challenging contexts. Furthermore, participants added that job rotations and personal mentoring were key contributors to helping them develop as executives.
“The notion of high performance equating to high potential no longer holds true,” said Karena Strella, Global Head of Management Assessment at Egon Zehnder. “Our experience underscores the findings of this survey, showing that specific personal traits and characteristics are the strongest indicator of leadership success. Curiosity, insight, engagement and determination are vital when assessing a person’s ultimate leadership capability.”
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