Getting It Right At The Top – Selecting Great Senior Leaders

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Choosing and training great senior leaders is the key to any organization’s successful future. Here are some strategies for finding and preparing leaders for executive success.

 1.   Identify the “Gold Standard” for Senior Leadership.

Job success at the highest executive level requires that a person has the capacity to shape future strategy, sense changing trends in an industry, lead across many functions, influence change management, and drive short and long-term profitability. Just because a person has succeeded at executive leadership at lower levels does not necessarily qualify him/her for more senior positions. With the “gold” leadership standard in mind organizations need to train, expose, and select their future leaders. This is done when companies

2.   Expose future executives to enterprise level projects.

Future senior leaders need to be given the opportunity to work on key business issues that involve cross-functional and global collaboration focussed on the mission of the company. In such a context, those who step up to the plate and lead with flexibility of thought, ability to “connect the dots” by anticipating innovative and profitable trends, influence change, and have the group naturally follow them are more than likely the key executives that will take their organization into a successful future. It is also essential that these “learning groups” be sponsored by the current top leaders in an organization.

3.    Select leaders with self-awareness and empathy.

“When the seventy-five members of the Stanford Graduate School of Business Advisory Council were asked to recommend the most important capability for leaders to develop, their answer was nearly unanimous: self-awareness.” – Bill George, past President and CEO of Medtronics

Many data driven organizations attract and reward people who are “stuck in their heads”. They forget that great leaders are also skilled in self and other-awareness.

Self-awareness is the reflective ability to perceive and understand our own underlying motives, strengths, and limitations.

A lack of self-awareness severely limits our ability to recognize and respond accurately to the emotions of another person (empathy).

There are many other leadership qualities that make for successful senior leaders.

What would you suggest to organizations that want to identify and nurture great senior leaders?



About cedricj

I am a licensed psychologist and management consultant and have always been intrigued by how leaders can inspire people in their organizations. The bottom line is that people are not always motivated by material rewards, the use of the carrot or the stick, fear and intimidation,and command and control, Five human needs inspire and drive us. Kristine S MacKain, Ph.D and myself describe these inspirational forces in our book "What Inspirational Leaders Do" (Kindle 2008)
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2 Responses to Getting It Right At The Top – Selecting Great Senior Leaders

  1. martincatt says:

    awesome. i like this.

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