The Top Skills Needed In Today's Business Leaders


Follow The Leader, Courtesy Vinoth Chandar

Boris Groysberg, a professor of business administration at Harvard Business School, surveyed senior consultants at a top-five global executive-search firm to find out what was being looked for in the next business leader. 

The top prized skill and trait required by companies, Groysberg noted, was a strong ability to lead. Several types of Leadership were identified and each depended on the company's specific situation, needs, and requirements. "Visionary leadership is frequently mentioned when a company is on a new path, adopting a new strategy, or at a tipping point in its growth.” Other desirable types included, "inspirational leadership," "leadership in a non-authoritarian manner that works with today's executive talent," "take-charge leadership," "leadership balanced with authenticity, respect for others, and trust building," "strategic leadership," and "ethical leadership". 

The second most important skill, the survey identified was Strategic Thinking and execution - essentially the ability to think strategically, often on a global basis. One consultant stressed the ability to "set the strategic direction" for the organization, whilst another equated strategic thinking with "integrative leadership."

The third was Technical and Technology skills. It was noted that executives need to understand how technology is impacting their organization and how to exploit it. 

Groysberg asked the search consultants how the most highly prized C-level skills have changed over time and what further change they foresee. The first clear theme that emerged was the importance of a global outlook and meaningful international experience. To read about all of the seven skills Groysberg's survey identified and the outlook for the skills and traits required by tomorrow's executives, click here.