If only I would get $1 every time I heard a human resources (HR) professional say, “I need our leaders to do more with less!”

It isn’t just local HR talent desperately needing critical leadership qualities. Insights from a recent study by IBM, based on conversations with more than 700 chief human resources officers (CHRO) worldwide, revealed that the biggest opportunity for global businesses is to pinpoint the secret sauce of hiring, retaining and developing creative leaders. The study showed that leaders who can organize and tap into collective intelligence with speed and flexibility are strongly needed (Working Beyond Borders, IBM Global Business Services, 2010).

With this desperate plea, we define the top 3 leadership qualities needed to take your organization into the future:

  1. CREATIVITY: Creative leaders demonstrate a common set of characteristics that allow them the opportunity to lead with innovation. They tap into the company’s collective intelligence rather than that of a few executives sitting around a table. Creative leaders gain the perspective of all employees and customers regardless of gender, race, generation, geographic location, years of service and title. And these leaders challenge every element of the business model; they are not “nay-sayers” but rather realize untapped opportunities and improve operational efficiencies by confidently saying, “Can we do this better or differently?” Leading through exploration and selection of even unconventional ideas allow organizations to thrive.
  2. GLOBAL MINDSET: A global leader demonstrates the ability to cultivate and think in terms of virtually unrestricted global envglobally-mindedironments. They integrate cross-functional capabilities, tap into the global workforce of the future and tear down institutional silos that inhibit creativity, innovation and speed. They operate in a global economy with an understanding of diversity and radical undergoing labor model changes such as the need for outsourcing, off-shoring and use of temporary, contingent and part-time workers. They may allow anyone to work from almost anywhere at any time and can manage different cultures and across different locations and time zones. They leverage social networking and new communication methods to motivate talent and reinvent global relationships.
  3. FLEXIBILITY:  Flexible, agile and resilient leaders must be able to quickly adapt, assimilate and communicate in an ever increasingly complex world. Their approach must be to operate in a fast-moving, uncertain and changing environment which will require timely, high-quality decisions and decisive implementation. These leaders will create a workplace where individuals and manager will gain visibility through various communication channels, enable quicker decision making processes and flexible organizational structures to respond quickly to changing market conditions, competition and customer needs/demands.

The good news is companies are recognizing the need for effective future leadership and are working to close this gap by instituting programs like leadership executive coaching.

  • Are you investing in your future leaders?
  • What are the qualities that you are developing?
  • Is your company missing the mark? Why?
  • What are your recommendations for identifying and cultivating these top 3 qualities?
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