Magazine article Talent Development

Future Leaders Expected to Wield Soft Power: The Next Generation of Leaders Will Draw Strength from the Downturn

Magazine article Talent Development

Future Leaders Expected to Wield Soft Power: The Next Generation of Leaders Will Draw Strength from the Downturn

Article excerpt

When it comes to desirable qualities in a leader, fail-safe picks such as integrity and confidence will always make the list. But finding order in the midst of chaos is now also a must in a time of financial turmoil and job uncertainty. What other qualities will set apart a leader of the future?

A recent Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) Leadership Competencies study uncovered some of the top business competencies sought from upcoming leaders, including strategy development and execution, business ethics, and decision making.

Overall, when all the qualities were integrated, the five that ranked the highest were knowledge of the business (60.9 percent), strategy execution (59.8 percent), good relationship-building skills (51.6 percent), customer knowledge (48.4 percent), and strategy development (46.7 percent).

The study consisted of 599 participants, and the questions explored three types of competencies (business, soft skills, and management) on two scales--a leadership success index and a market performance index. Additionally, each competency was measured in terms of what companies are actually doing and what they think they should be doing.

Jay Jamrog, senior vice president of research at i4cp, points out that when the survey was conducted in the past, and leaders were asked what challenges they would face over the next decade, globalization and virtual leadership were cited the most. But this time around, the answers were the need to operate efficiently and the need for profitability.

In terms of soft skills competencies, the ones that tied directly to leadership success were creating an environment of trust and respect, coaching skills, community involvement, being a role model for organizational values, and emotional intelligence.

"I think what companies are starting to realize is that the competencies that have to do with building relationships are becoming just as important as the skills to build and maintain a business," Jamrog says.

In addition, there is crossover in terms of business ethics being rated highly but also wanting leaders to be a role model for organizational values. These findings are probably related to the rise of corporate scandals in recent years. …

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