Home

Executive Management and Leadership

Aristotle once said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. When we know ourselves and what we are good at, we can work smarter.  So it is no surprise that those with strong self-awareness tend to do better professionally. They tend to perform better at work, get more promotions and lead more effectively.

Self-assessment tests are helpful in sharpening your awareness of your strengths, weaknesses, interests and personality preferences, among other important aspects of ‘you’, including personal styles such as communication or problem solving styles.

Why Use Assessments?

Leadership has been defined as the process by which an individual influences a group and directs the group toward a specific goal or mission. Great leaders lead by example, possess strong communication skills and have both the trust and respect of their employees. True leaders inspire people to live the vision, mission and values of their organization while simultaneously empowering people to make decisions and contribute ideas.

A recent survey of executives about traits needed to succeed as an executive highlighted leadership skills as the most commonly cited one. While there are several definitions of leadership skills (pray, who doesn’t have a say on his or her own interpretation of leadership) with encompassing factors such as communication, motivation and strategic orientation, a pragmatic denotation which I picked up from a mentor is the impact you have on the people around you.

For managers across the spectrum, the Millennial generation work force is growing in numbers. Forbes suggests that 80% of hiring managers have a view their Millennial employees have narcissistic tendencies, but that this may stem from different generations not understanding each other and their thought place of what a workplace should be. Traditional team based management structures are under threat by an evolution in work environments.

Although there is no exact formula for becoming a “great executive leader”, there are many common traits, strengths, and skills that the majority of great executive leaders possess. Learning how to acquire, develop and utilize these attributes can dramatically improve your career performance and help you to stand out among other executive candidates.

When seeking advice on next generation talent, we decided the best place to start would be talking to our very own. AESC recently had a discussion with 30 of the top young professionals in executive search across the globe—from Warsaw to Washington D.C., São Paolo to Shanghai— and asked them what clients should do to develop next generation talent within their own organizations. Here’s what they said were the best ways to deliver your young leaders and our advice on how to implement it:

 

It is surprising how so many executives I come across easily under-estimate their ability to stay on top of digitization trends, and consider themselves digitally challenged! I spoke to audience members who approached me during networking sessions at some of the technology conferences I spoke at recently, and a synopsis of my observations as well as my advice to some of them is as follows.

Business leaders have always been scrutinized for their decision making. In 1914, Henry Ford was both denounced as a fool and praised for doubling wages of factory employees from $2.34 to $5 per day. In 1987, Merck & Company decided to give away a cure for river blindness for free, an unfathomable choice for most pharmaceuticals, because they recognized the cost of the drug would be too high for impoverished international markets. Today, entire industries emerge and evaporate in just a few years, so executives must be ready to make substantive choices with limited information. Decisions on people – who to hire, fire, promote and reward – is even more complex; even if new algorithms are quantifying our daily behavior, humans create messy and imperfect data sets.

A middle-aged friend of mine had an interesting query when we caught up over beer & chips recently. The youngsters in my firm think they know it all, he said. My older colleagues also think they need no advice, he added. “Who is right?” was his exasperated question! Come to think of it, no wonder my office chef says that he can double up as a juggler, especially when he does the balancing act every day cooking lunch for 3 different generations! Curiosity aroused, I set off on a week-long expedition of research, thinking, conversations & observations! Below is the summary of my findings captured in the form of the top 7 tips for leading multi-generational teams:

At the outset, a very happy new year to all my readers! Recently, I saw a six-month old entrant to the corporate sector challenging many of the traditionally held beliefs of leadership, resulting in some bruised egos on my team, and plenty of questions to ponder in my mind. My curiosity led to research & discussions on leadership in the age of millennials, and here is a compendium of my learning on this journey.

Egalitarian vs. hierarchical structures: Gone are the days of layers where you had doers at the bottom and reviewers at the top. The foot soldiers at the bottom of the pyramid have laid Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “theirs not to reason why” philosophy firmly to rest!