Changes in the C-Suite: 4 Top Skills for the CEO

Top 4 Skills for the New CEO

Here we outline some of the trends we are seeing in not only in demand positions, but the hurtles both clients and candidates have to overcome to succeed.

In the post-pandemic world, it’s become more important than ever to hire executives who are able to adapt to changes in the business environment quickly. Flexibility, adaptability and people-centric skills are in demand – but what does that look like in leadership?

Leaders who are able to foresee future challenges and help create strategies that will put their organization in the best place to find new opportunities, scale their business and prevent adversity by being proactive. 

Hiring for Today’s CEOs

Before the pandemic, CEOs were mainly hired based on their ability to get things done. In fact, pre-pandemic CEOs generally:

  • Were authoritative
  • Sent orders on how to obtain new sales, enhance business product offerings, or cut expenses
  • Were largely confined to working with their executive companions
  • Leaned on their executives for information about the company’s performance in various departments
  • Made decisions based on the knowledge received from other executives, like CFOs, COOs, CMOs, and more

Depending on the size of the company, CEOs generally were not seen unless it was to participate in a company wide event such as a town hall. CEOs in these businesses primarily communicated with their employees via generic emails and company memos, but the pandemic and work culture as we know has changed to ask the CEO to be more present. 

Post-pandemic CEOs have seen their duties evolve, and proved that other skills are necessary in this new work world. A few traits that forward-thinking businesses are looking for include:

  1. Foresight
  2. Adaptability
  3. Reliability
  4. Teamwork

These four traits help modern CEOs achieve success, regardless of the specific industry or organization in which they operate.

  1. Foresight

Foresight is the ability to envision the various outcomes associated with a business decision. It’s a behavioral mindset that requires the ability to look at one decision and perceive the potential consequences of taking action. 

Before an important decision is made, the CEO will need to consider how it will affect all of the company’s stakeholders, including shareholders, customers, and employees. 

Ensuring proper foresight requires staying abreast of developments in the business environment. This attentiveness means keeping an eye on the news, staying in touch with major clients, and monitoring changes that occur that may affect the company. 

  1. Adaptability

Adaptability has proven to be a requirement in the changing needs of the business. During the pandemic, companies only had two options, closing their business or moving virtually.

Leaders that were not afraid of remote work experienced a more seamless transition – and retention. Adaptability allows you to anticipate what you need to conform to change and perceive the changes positively. The pandemic has shown the consequences of inadaptability can be detrimental to a business. 

  1. Reliability

If you can’t trust someone to handle their job, they aren’t reliable – a reliable CEO is a leader who is trustworthy by handling difficult situations, being transparent and being solution driven – they get through the situation and can design strategies that promote the success of the company.

A reliable CEO explains their decision-making process; they explain their reasoning to their team members and other stakeholders. They may not always make the right decisions, but they use the information they have and go through a thorough decision-making process when making a choice.

  1. Teamwork

A CEO in today’s business environment is aware that they don’t know everything. Each employee has various talents that they bring to the business. A good CEO is able to discern the talents of each team member and use them to bring value to the business. 

Before a significant business decision is made, a CEO should ask for input from their colleagues. Leaders should know who has the skills to be able to have open discussions on business needs and strategies before making a decision and today’s CEO is no different. 

Pandemics and technology have changed the way we work and it’s important that leaders – including CEOs – recognize the changes and seek out strategies that will continue to allow their businesses to grow.