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Increasing profitability and building teams are no longer the sole responsibilities of leadership for some. Keeping your nerve was a crucial skill for 2023, in addition to prioritising flexibility and nurturing team health. For 2024, The KC Group shares its top ten leadership attributes and trends:

Capable of coping with change

There have been many challenges and changes over the last five years, including Covid-19, AI, war, social polarisation, the cost-of-living crisis, and an increasing focus on corporate social responsibility. There is a temptation to make short-term decisions when there is a lot of uncertainty. In contrast, good leaders will take strategic, bold decisions in alignment with the long-term vision and purpose of their organisation rather than fearing the unknown or clinging to traditional processes and mindsets. By being courageous in the face of change, we can foster growth; by being resilient, we can inspire confidence in the face of uncertainty.

Navigating uncertainty

Commercial imperatives and personal agendas are driving short-termism, leading to key decisions being forsaken, fear rising across organisations, and stress increasing in senior management. When fear is present, the opposite of what is needed occurs, with companies’ average ages continuing to decline. Increasing focus on customers and other stakeholder relationships through a statement of purpose and relinquishing a primary focus on shareholders is necessary for leaders. Innovating and creating will be easier when leaders are steadier.

Ability to use technology effectively

Currently, the pace of change is the slowest it has ever been. AI’s rapid emergence poses a global challenge for organisations as they try to balance its benefits against the potential costs. As technology accelerates and AI continues to dominate headlines, this trend will continue. What kind of innovations, time savings, and growth will these advancements bring? While simultaneously upskilling and reskilling their existing teams, the best leaders are aware of the issues, ethics, and dangers. Data will be collected, analysed, and acted upon by investment in technology and tools.

Being both sustainable and responsible

Although 90% of executives agree that sustainability is important, only 60% incorporate sustainability into their business model, and only 25% incorporate sustainability into their strategy.  Despite ambitious goals and targets, demand for green skills currently exceeds supply.

Having self-awareness

Leadership requires self-awareness, demonstrating emotional and cultural intelligence, mature decision making, and authenticity. A well-rounded and diverse team is formed by leaders who understand their strengths, weaknesses, and stressors. A leader who models healthy stress management will also be sensitive to their team members’ needs and concerns, and will offer support and address any culture, communication, and engagement issues head-on.

Embracing vulnerability

Leadership that is open about flaws and challenges creates a much more genuine and trusting environment. Authenticity and open communication are fostered by being vulnerable, which promotes more free-flowing ideas in the workplace. Our leaders need to be human and humane more than ever.

Building relationships

The skill of cultivating strong relationships and inclusion lies at the heart of effective leadership in 2024. Nurturing flexible work conditions and interconnected relationships facilitates seamless collaboration, unwavering trust, reduced conflict, and increased engagement and retention. The long-term benefits of boosting team morale go far beyond mere gestures.

Being committed to delegation

In Edelman’s 2022 Trust Barometer, 29 percent of employees believe that their CEO does not trust them. Delegation and empowerment are key aspects of being a leader. As things change faster, leaders need to focus on what’s most important, so delegation becomes an increasingly important skill in resource management in order to build trust with an employee-centered approach.

A commitment to transparency

The foundation of trust and credibility is transparency. A Slack ‘Future Of Work’ study found that 80% of employees want to know how their organisations make decisions. Transparency enables employees to see behind-the-scenes decision-making, revealing the reasons and decisions behind workplace actions. Their trust is enhanced and they understand why what they are being asked to do is relevant. It is crucial to understand the ‘Why’ behind your actions.

Resolution of Conflicts

Approximately two-thirds of American workers say they have dealt with a toxic boss. Thirty-one percent say they work for one. Managing crises, resolving conflicts, and handling bullying and harassment incidents must be taken seriously and handled properly. Approximately 20% of employees reported most conflict with their supervisors, and 12% reported conflict among leaders frequently. It is crucial that a leader deal positively with conflict instead of causing it (as described in Patrick Lencioni’s “Five Dysfunctions of a Team”).

Supporting you

KC Group’s ‘Executive Search’ specialists recognise that in business, it’s not just about the numbers.  It is a privilege to be trusted with your Executive level roles and as such, we have an experienced team of Consultants with real-world experience, unparalleled connections, leading technology, and the skills to identify high calibre individuals for your organisation.

Our Consultants adopt a people-led approach, taking the time to build meaningful relationships with our clients and candidates so we can match them with the right talent, or opportunities that perfectly align with their goals.

We are well connected with C-suite professionals and work with a variety of organisations including exciting high growth businesses, PE/VC backed, PLC and Fortune 500 organisations. We offer a unique approach to each individual search mandate offering you a robust and tailormade process with market mapping, competitor analysis and salary benchmarking. At the start of each process, we will invest our time to establish your needs through gaining a thorough understanding of your organisation, goals, challenges, cultural fit, and the role profile.

We cover a wide range of Executive level roles in the Midlands and UK across Finance, Human Resources, Banking, and Interim Management. Recent mandates have included:

  • Risk & Compliance Director (£120,000+) – NFP Organisation
  • Interim Senior Programme/Transformation Manager (£1,000pd)  – Fortune 500
  • Interim Program Director (£1,500pd) – Fortune 500
  • Managing Director (£150,000+) – SME
  • Chief Financial Officer (£150,000+) – PE-backed
  • HR Director (£120,000+) – PE-backed
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