The last few months have presented business leaders with the ultimate leadership test. As we now move towards the “new normal”, we look to our business leaders not only to drive the economic recovery of their organisations, but to develop long term strategies that will deliver sustainable growth and to guide their people through this period of relentless uncertainty.
To be successful in this challenge, leaders will of course need a high degree of emotional intelligence, honest communications, personal resilience, and the ability to work in ambiguity. In parallel, there are four leadership behaviours that we have observed through our engagement with business leaders during the crisis, that we believe will be key:
- Informed decision making – using reliable data from trusted, objective sources to understand the issues arising from the current external environment and how they relate to your business. When we empower business with intelligence, we focus on the issues that matter most
- Open, collaborative working – willing to share best practices, to work cross sector and form alliances, with other businesses and, importantly, with government. When we benefit from the power of collective insight, the outcomes are better and reach further than could be possible alone
- Strategic agility – taking time out from day to day crisis management to identify risks, spot opportunities, and plan for the future. When leaders are prepared to innovate and take risks the bigger picture becomes far more worthwhile
- Responsible leadership – being purpose driven, defining what your organisation stands for, and driving sustainable, ethical growth to “build back better”. When we lay the right foundations for tomorrow’s world it creates opportunity for all, regardless of background.
Times of crisis are well known to bring the role of the leader into sharper focus, allowing many to rise up and shine more brightly, whilst quickly highlighting those found lacking. Now is the time to invest in your leaders and future talent, to enable them to lead us through the current crisis, but also to scan the horizon, anticipate risks and spot opportunities that will build prosperity for all.
There is a need to provide leaders and decision makers with objective insights into the key societal issues that business needs to respond to now and in the future. There is a need to build stakeholder relationships between business and government, to deepen engagement and ensure the real-world business impact of policy decisions is understood. And there is a need to create time and space for leaders to plan, to identify innovations, think big and collaborate with others. Underpinning this all, is the key role that business has to play as a force for good, taking responsible decisions, creating sustainable, purpose driven strategies and building back better from this crisis.
This is an opportunity for businesses to complement the traditional elements of their leadership development offering with learning that focuses on the external environment, the issues we are facing now, the policies being discussed within governments today and ways to make your voice heard. We need leaders that are empowered to shape and manage the world beyond their immediate area of control, to have a greater and wider impact, all with the view to protect the economy, create opportunities and cultivate a better future.
The CBI is unique in its ability to bring business leaders together with government to discuss the issues that matter most, provide intelligence and policy insights, and campaign for change. We have used our knowledge, experiences, and expertise to create a suite of leadership development programmes and virtual learning products designed to enable leaders to tackle the challenges we currently face in this unprecedented time of uncertainty. For further information please get in touch directly.
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