The days of simply hiring somebody with an MBA to administer the company's profit and loss statement and slapping the title of CEO on them...are over.

In the next decade, organisations are going to be faced with increasing levels of complexity, both from within their own organisations, as well as from shifts in the global contextual environment.

So what kind of leadership is then needed in this new age of business? What kind of person should companies be looking for to help them navigate the tricky road ahead?

According to research - there are four key character traits that a leader should excel at, if they are to be above average in delivering on their mandate:

  1. They should be able to simplify the complexity that they are presented with - so that teams can operationalise the strategy: All too often organisations can get caught up in the noise and busy-ness that comes with increasing levels of complexity that they are faced with on a daily basis. Great leaders are able to artfully simplify the complexity to find the key leverage points that inspire operational teams to deliver. Great leaders are therefore big picture thinkers that can sell an inspiring narrative to teams that fire them into action.
  2. They inspire an organisation to work together as a collective team to pursue a tangible vision: Almost all organisations are broken down into parts, which very often then try to out manoeuvre each other in an internal game of survival. Great leaders design organisational systems so that teams work as a collective, not as silos, to achieve a stretch goal.
  3. They make a valuable contribution on teams they are not leading: Great leaders are not driven by their egos, but rather for their passion to make an impactful contribution to a team in whatever capacity they can.  Whether they have the opportunity to lead or to just be an average member of a team, they give it their best all the same.
  4. Great leaders, build other great leaders: The best leaders inspire and empower others to be leaders themselves. They have a track record of leaving people in a better place than when they first met them. As quoted from the Tao Te Ching; "A leader is best when people barely know he / she exists, when his / her work is done, they will say, 'we did it ourselves.'"

For more details on these character traits, please have a more considered look at this article courtesy of PWC.