THE 4 MOST CRITICAL LEADERSHIP SKILLS
For CEOs and Executive leaders
By Randal Godden
Having spent more than 50 years in business covering the full spectrum of roles from junior cost accountant, Chief Financial Officer, Functional General Manager, Chief Executive, Chairman and Strategist, I believe that there are four critical leadership skills needed for business success.
It is the clear responsibility of the executive leadership of any organization to ensure these four leadership skills are developed and appropriately cascaded throughout the organization.
1. Provide clear direction.
At executive level, clear direction involves developing a clear Vision, Mission, Purpose, Values, Strategic Thrusts and Competitive Advantage. These leadership tools must be effectively cascaded throughout the organization - so that at every level, every manager and employee has a clear role and set of responsibilities that contributes to the company’s future direction. Remember that any element/s that is not appropriately delegated with clear Accountability and Responsibility remain the direct responsibility of the leader.
2. Manage stakeholder relationships.
At executive level, this involves setting up a way to manage relationships with each of the Stakeholder groups and in particular the key Stakeholders in each group. Stakeholders could include : Customers or Clients, Suppliers, Employees, Financiers, Shareholders, Business Associates and the Community. The key stakeholders will vary depending on the particular business and its clientele. Retail oriented businesses will have a very different focus compared to business to business organizations.
3. Develop teams
We hear regularly that “our people are our key asset” but it is essential that the executive leadership act to ensure it becomes a true success element.
Although employees including management are a Stakeholder group, the critical importance of this group requires it to be a non–negotiable and separate leadership focus.
Developing high performance teams at different levels of the organisation means at executive level, having a clear plan that includes recruitment, orientation, involvement, team building, career development, cultural consistency and retention.
Then executives need to ensure that at every level leaders have a team development plan for their own areas.
4. Keep score.
In any organization or business, keeping score is an essential leadership skill. Keeping score involves more that just waiting to see the regular monthly financial statements. It means identifying the critical measurements and / or ratios that we need to achieve on a daily or weekly basis to ensure we achieve or exceed our macro targets. This includes both financial and non financial measures.
In this respect remember my Keeping Score mnemonic – MMA, Measure, Monitor, Act !
If executives ensure that these leadership skills are entrenched at all leadership levels throughout the organisation, it will play a significant role in ensuring the success of the organization.
Randal Godden is an Ex-CFO and CEO of a company involved in construction, wholesale and retail. The company employed 3000 people and had 200 branches.
In his career he has been a director of every function of the company including financel, sales, manufacturing, distribution, marketing, HR and IT.
He now works as a mentor to CEO's and functional heads. Read his profile and other articles.
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