Can Leaders Who Learn “Future-Proof” Your Organization

Leaders at every level are key players in any group, team, or organization. An excellent CEO can have a significant effect on the performance of an organization.  A poor CEO can drive the business into the ground. In the research and management literature of the past 30 years there has been a strong focus, even an obsession, on the leader as the creator of all good or evil. So, are you confident you can hire great leaders?

But what does ‘good’ and ‘poor’ mean in the context of leadership? And how do you know that you have got the right person?

As we are all aware, change is unrelenting.  Just as you start to see the way forward, the world changes and throws out your plans. So, what kind of leaders do you need to ‘future proof’ your organization?

The answer is Leaders who Learn. You and your business cannot keep up and thrive without learning from:

  • Mistakes – yours and others
  • Other people within and outside your company
  • Companies including your competitors
  • Leaders within and outside your field.

Defining Leaders Who Learn

How do you learn, and does it align with leaders who do?

Leaders who learn have a growth or agile mindset. They know that what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. They listen, ask questions, and don’t assume they are right. They hire for diversity of thought, and encourage their team to think independently, and constructively challenge themselves to improve. They think through the implications of their and others’ ideas to find the best mix. And they search for data and insights to drive their analysis and decisions.

Leaders who learn, focus on listening and asking good questions.

Today’s Leaders

The old military concept of leadership emphasized taking command, being in control, charisma, and devoted followers, prepared to follow orders from their leader. Excellent business leaders still need to have vision, be able to inspire their employees, to pronounce their views with confidence and charisma. But these views need to be informed by what they have learned from what they observe and what they are open to considering. Inspiration, and enthusiasm are best balanced with analysis and agility.

‘Many people would rather die than think. In fact, many do so.’ (Bertrand Russell, philosopher and teacher).

The leaders of today need to be excellent learners and thinkers as well as charismatic, visionary, and demanding. And today we hear much about resilience being critically important for leaders and their teams. To cultivate resilience a leader needs to engender trust. And that is earned, by how a leader behaves, treats others, and leads.

You might see charisma in a job interview, but these other characteristics may be hard to identify and tease out in the hiring process. Yet you need to get down to that level to select and hire the right leaders for your organization. While “future proof” may not really be possible, the right leaders, up and down the ranks, will help your organization adapt, and thrive even when others struggle.

Finding and Hiring Leaders Who Learn

PeopleFactors has been helping many of the world’s leading organizations hire better leaders for over 35 years. We have seen how the requirements of leadership have changed.

Our pre-employment assessment tools help you develop a view of the whole candidate far beyond the resume and even their experience. Our batteries of psychometric tests probe the full suite of leadership capabilities including those that demonstrate adaptability, agility and the other characteristics of leaders who learn. Our assessments can be fine-tuned for leaders at every level of your organization, giving you a strong, flexible, effective leadership backbone.

It’s as close to future proof as you are going to get.

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