What Makes a Company Manager a „Great Leader“ These Days? 

Late effects of covid-19 pandemic, serious war implications, affected global supply chains – plus – turnaround strategies for climate development, innovative energy efficiency, high inflation, initiated digital transformation, hybrid & new working models, recession even in Germany. Wow – quite a lot of challenges to master! So – how do these STRUGGLE MAKERS impact companies & leaders, on the way to realizing adapted biz-strategies and change activities in 2023/24:

  • Availability of rare materials and non-interrupted supply-chains remain being THE KEY for a future-proof biz-models and convincing value-prepositions to clients – specifically for manufacturers of investment goods and hi-tech products/solutions. 
  • Agile and performing PEOPLE – either on leadership or expert level – became similarly critical for the future biz-sustainability – specifically for innovation- and service-oriented businesses. 
  • Navigating the successful business transition and intentional influencing people became more evident, rather than „only“ performing commercial strategies and executing on critical KPIs. 
  • Smart AI and digitized work processes will not only drive cost-out and improved labor productivity, but freeing up time to develop innovative ideas/solutions and efficient hybrid working – for employees and leaders. 
  • Inflation and salary-adaptations led to massively higher staff-cost everywhere, often with a divergence in company productivity and organizational effectiveness. 
  • Demographic evolution in Germany will send 4-5 Million employees into pension until 2030, so effective know-how transition and adapted leadership abilities across 1 or 2 (!) generations become crucial for any company success. 

Means: Today’s chaotic business climate demands not only robust business strategies, but smart HYBRID LEADERS, who are influencing humans to act in ways that drive business and personal growth. In fact: top & middle management of any company becomes most critical in this future-oriented behavioural transition – and hybrid leaders need to be less strategy experts and more trusted human influencers in future!

Based on our experience with various executive leaders in diverse markets, WHICH SKILLS make company managers a GREAT LEADER these days, to navigate winds of change and shape the future success of their business?

1. Aligning a Clear Company Vision with the capabilities of a trusted workforce

Resilient hybrid leaders are naturally strategic in their business approach. Market and technology data are used to shape robust company visions for the future, how to implement better approaches for winning new clients and effectivizing organizations´ productivity. What became more evident for the last 3 years are people influencing abilities, „how“ to navigate uncertainty and employees´ trust by driving pioneer action-plans even with inconsistent outcomes. Resilient hybrid leaders learnt that any market disruption could be mastered by the innovative power of the companies´ workforce and trusted leadership teams. All necessary changes represent chances to learn new skills on all levels, initiate vital change projects and grow the entire organizations capabilities via top/down and bottom/up approach. Means – growing resilient and innovative organization culture becomes key. 

2. Forward-thinking „Hybrid Leaders“

Hybrid leaders constantly have their eyes on the future – by acting on company visions, taking critical decisions and being open for workforce feedback and potential realignments. The self-awareness and presence of great leaders is a critical part of inspiring others to embrace and overcome change. They understand that their own attitudes and behaviours — good or bad — are infectious in shaping an inspiring a positive working climate. They understand that they cannot please everybody and will face resistance over some decisions. They have the confidence to stay committed to their decisions (even against this adversity) while also displaying empathy skills to engage with dissenters and ensure their concerns are heard. Visible company successes inspired by hybrid leaders are often apparent – former company successes are no guarantee for future success. 

3. Ability to empower & build company success on performing TEAMS

Empowered teams are often the most obvious result (!) of a trusted and inspiring work environment, especially during times of uncertainty and disruptive markets. Aside of return-to-office, remote or developed hybrid working models, empowered and efficient teams became clearly obvious in any organization. However – the massive work of leaders and teams (means: how to get there), gets often forgotten or taken for granted. Hybrid leaders could build these trusted environments with confident ease by using their emotional leadership talent or by developing their empowerment skills over time. The classic empowerment-style has been evolved into a more heart-centred and hybrid-empowered leadership-style. Engaging workforces, agile & efficient work-style, open & reflective communication (both ways), continuous learning & skill cultivation, authentic & trusted teams – just to name a few. On the way to empowered teams, innovative working procedures are to be developed in any quarter of the organization, independent of today´s level or impact. Building high-performance teams is about figuring out how and where you can create „unique value“ – and how you engage humans at a deeper, more humanistic, and passionate level. The demographic evolution and diverse expectation levels of work generations do require strong team-empowerment and hybrid leadership skills. 

4. Humility & Respect

Apart from being a strong and highly skilled leader, every leader on C-level or middle-management should have a healthy degree of humility to counterbalance their leadership & business confidence. There is no singular correct way to do things, and good ideas can emerge from all parts of the organization. Hybrid Leaders maintain open minded, listen to feedback and are unafraid to adjust their approach or strategy if new information or more effective approaches come to their attention. Their humility enables them to acknowledge their mistakes openly, or even publicly if needed. They don’t run away from criticism, they consider mistakes as an opportunity to engage with the rest of the organization and learn how to improve their performance and authentic respect. It is critical to stress the importance of taking time off: unplugging, carving out personal time every day, and committing to physical and mental health. Aside of the massive leadership workload, this became essential to staying calm, giving the best for the organization and being confident amid organizational change. 

In the last 3 years, we do see many leaders (new & long-term C-levels and middle-management) struggling with the massive challenges these days – especially it´s leadership implications within their organization and new expectation levels of workforce. Many successful hybrid talents feel „being done“ with massive change implications of the organization (or their own skills) already. Most leaders are on the way to learning new skills and experience adapted activities – often in new & uncomfort-zones. Lots of mid-sized companies are further down the transition-need already, international groups or corporates are slower by company-nature. In any way of leadership transition – hybrid leaders will understand, that intentional influencing humans’ behaviour change became THE KEY TASK of a hybrid leader, on top of influencing biz-outcomes until 2020. 

All of these hybrid capabilities will be needed in future for any successful leadership team. As CANTOR and Founding Partner of the CFR Global Executive Search Network – we are passionate about Executive Search and Headhunting for more than 25 years. We could support YOUR business growth with future-oriented HR-process mastery and winning excellence of high-performing leaders & expert labour in the German speaking region. Together with our CFR network, we are happy to support your international assignments in more than 20 countries with local market expertise and well-integrated talent search procedures. Challenge us with your hybrid leader or expert needs – we are happy to understand more. 

Article written by Marc Steuer, Board Member CFR Global Executive Search
Photo source: Pixabay

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