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Leading the way: 3 things for the C-suite to get right in 2023

These critical leadership traits are a must to navigate the contours of dynamic business environments.

To say that strong business leadership is a prerequisite for strong organisational performance would be like saying a steady intake of water is essential for human survival. As the importance of human capital and emotional intelligence started to be realised across industries amid the Great Resignation, CEOs have already increased investment in leadership development, and they’re right to do so. Simply put, good leaders cultivate strong culture, which drives organisational growth and shareholder returns.

With millions putting their money where their mouth is and exiting roles to pursue opportunities elsewhere, organisations cannot afford to ignore these modern leadership imperatives. Attracting and retaining a strong cadre of engaged employees is just one of the concerns at the top of the list for the C-suite, and we’re shining a light on some of these trends to keep an eye on in the year ahead.\

Pre-Empting Change

The years of making five-to-ten-year plans and then doggedly sticking to them without changing course might well and truly be behind us. Change is now a constant companion for the C-suite, and companies need to be prepared for black swan events and the most disruptive of scenarios, no matter how implausible they might seem at first glance. This can take on many forms, such as regulatory changes, inflationary pressures, shifting geopolitics, supply-chain issues, labor costs, spooked equity markets, and evolving stakeholder expectations, to name a few. What’s important is to manage that change, get in front of the issue and press the advantage once you have it.

The only way to do so is to have your finger on the pulse of the market. This could include identifying broader trends across the industry, and forming a closer rapport with educational institutions to broaden access to talent pools that might have been earlier closed off. Innovations and products are being developed, released, and even undone in record time, and it’s critical to have an understanding of these externalities in order to better steer the corporate ship.

Closer Boardroom Synergies

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the need to collaborate closely with diverse teams, all while exploring new and improved ways of working. This holds equally true for the boardroom and senior leadership teams, with board members understanding the need to dovetail better with management in order to get a more complete picture of the state of the business. As such, CXO’s must ensure that they engage the boardroom with meetings focused on problem-solving sessions as opposed to meandering presentations.

While it is true that the role of the board is to advise, and not execute, the boardroom cannot simply stand aside and be passive. They must be fed with a steady flow of insights and performance metrics, so that board members can work in tandem with CXO’s to course correct as needed. Board members are often experienced, savvy executives that have weathered many a storm, and as such can offer a way forward when one might not be as easily visible. But at the same time, they cannot step into the field of play and interfere and micromanage, because that could be detrimental to the business. It is a fine line for all stakeholders to tread.

Managing Talent Masterfully

Things have changed rather dramatically in the talent landscape over the past year or more, and businesses need to adapt to the demands of this modern reality. Employees are asking more of their companies, and this is a trend that will continue well into 2023, and perhaps beyond. It is now commonplace to seek a greater purpose and culture, or be put off or taken in by diversity and inclusion efforts, or even seek the kind of flexibility and development that has previously been conspicuously absent.

One way that executives can lean into this trend is to highlight career development pathways within the organisation and offer leadership development opportunities for those higher up the hierarchy. One of the upsides to this is the ability to equip staff witg the competencies and capabilities they need to combat future uncertainties with confidence, something that creates a win-win situation and stands everyone in good stead. Another thing would be to engage teams and leaders to better match human capital to the tasks at hand. This ensures the right fit and synergies are at play, while giving people a sense of direction and importance professionally.

Karan Karayi
Karan Karayi
A part-time car enthusiast and full-time food aficionado, Karan is forever chasing his next big creative thrill. He also doesn’t enjoy writing in third-person.


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