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May 3, 2017

Essential Soft Skills for Future CEOs

Thinking of the faces of global companies we often imagine movers and shakers with first-class education and an excellent degree. But how come that common examples such as Richard Branson (Virgin) or Bill Gates (Microsoft) do not have a university degree and yet – or maybe for that exact reason – they are extremely successful? What can we learn from exceptional entrepreneurs like them and which soft skills do future contenders for the executive chair need?

The Vision – Motivational Factor and Guidance

Tomorrow’s CEO must have a clear notion of his company’s goals. Where should the journey lead? What are the basic values? Most importantly: Who am I as a CEO? A clear vision cuts through all areas and manifests in the company’s values, actions and beliefs. The stronger the vision, the easier it becomes for the executive to motivate the employees for common goals.

The art of it is to clearly define the goals within the team and to communicate them well. Sometimes one has to make the unpopular decision in favor of the company’s interests. The CEO is the captain of the ship and should always believe in the business idea and his employees.

CEOs as Storytellers

Good stories surprise us. They mesmerize us, let us think twice about something and evoke deep emotions. Interesting stories root deeply in our thoughts and let us recapitulate ideas and concepts in a way that reports simply can’t. A captivating narrative can also be a handy stylistic device to sell one’s own idea.

For CEOs storytelling will become an essential qualification in the future, as rhetoric device to motivate the employees or to represent the brand. The company with the best story outpaces the others. Many of the globally most thriving companies use storytelling as recipe for success. One of the probably most well-known storytellers was Apple-founder Steve Jobs. He understood the stuff that stories are made of like no other. In his speeches he communicated important values, visions or life lessons, which he connected with the Apple-brand.

Empathy and Communication as Key to the Business Management

Globalization and digitalization have been changing the business world for a long time now. International teams are no rarity anymore and even the client base becomes more and more multicultural. Therefore it is essential for the future that CEOs know which needs their employees have. Empathy, communication and giving the employees a voice are probably the most important factors.

The societal development and the constantly changing requirements for businesses are also influencing the leadership styles. Flattened hierarchies ensure more freedom and self-determination for employees at work. If the CEO succeeds in creating room for open conversation, he thus strengthens his employees and provides opportunities for their progress. Everyone who allows mistakes and grants their team a formal say in decisions, can reckon on the team’s support.

Conclusion

There is no ultimate patent remedy for leadership! BUT: because of the increasing globalization employees have way higher demands towards the company in which they spend the majority of their time. Besides an appropriate remuneration, the interest lies especially on the work environment. Tomorrow’s CEO has to be able to really cater his employees’ needs. The keyword is work life balance! Moreover, training opportunities are essential in the war of talents. The old days of a CEO as a lone wolf at the top of the company are over. The new management style surrounds future CEOs with people in whom they can invest and trust.

Workshop

Consulting

Jaqueline Herr