When the future is uncertain and unpredictable, what skills and capabilities do our leaders need to help organisations thrive? Jenny Straumers, lead consultant in the Cirrus talent team, explores this in the first of three posts looking at how organisations can find and assess leadership talent.

Organisations everywhere face the challenge of planning for future leadership roles, even though we’re not actually sure what many of those roles will look like. Technological breakthroughs, AI, environmental change and other factors will lead to significant changes to ways in which people work.

At Cirrus, we have combined our own experience with clients, our research into leadership, agility and performance management, and the latest research from other leading organisations, to come up with some guidelines to help you find and keep your leadership talent.

Three simple steps to find and keep leadership talent:

  1. Know what you are looking for
  2. Find it and assess it
  3. Create the conditions to nurture and retain your talent

Knowing what to look for

In this post I’ll focus on the first point – what to look for in your future leaders.

Cirrus has carried out a great deal of research into the leadership challenges of our digital era. Drawing on this, we have identified the capabilities that will be vital for leaders now and in the future.

Cirrus digital leadership talent model

Leaders need to make sense of complex information and connect the dots, using it to benefit the business or to set direction, and staying on course. An entrepreneurial or even creative streak will be key to take advantage of opportunities, whatever these may be.

Ensuring they get others ‘fired up’ whilst collaborating with people across complex systems is also important; working with and through others to deliver results. Super-leaders will also be focused on growing and nurturing talent to be ready for the future.

Finally, there is an ever-increasing requirement to be comfortable with uncertainty and navigate without the full picture.

The importance of potential

It is important to know how leaders measure up against the above factors, but it won’t provide the full picture. You’ll also need to consider future potential for leadership. At Cirrus we include measures of aspiration and key drivers, such as what gets you out of bed in the morning. To this we add measures of strategic, learning and emotional agility. To be successful in the future leaders must want to and show ability to move from the task or the ‘here and now’ to lift their head over the parapet and take a much broader view. A desire to learn and using the insights, combined with being emotionally savvy, understanding others, is also key.

So, now you have identified what capabilities you’ll need to look for in your leaders of the future, how will you measure these capabilities? We’ll look at that in my next post.

Discover more about leadership assessment at Cirrus

Listen to Jenny and our head of talent Nadine Smart talking about how to assess tomorrow’s leaders

 

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