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Strong leadership is important to the success of any business, but it’s especially critical for SMEs. And effective leadership doesn’t stop with you as the business owner. Directors, managers and supervisors all have a leadership role to play in your business. So selecting the right people to join your leadership team is critical to securing the future success of your SME.

In days gone by, business owners would select new recruits to join their leadership team on the basis of intelligence, experience and past successes. But times have changed. These days, that’s no longer enough.

The effective SME leader of today needs different attributes. They need to demonstrate that they have the qualities to lead a business in a volatile, complex and rapidly changing world. And they should be judged on how they may perform in the future and respond to potential challenges, as well as on what they have done in the past.

So what qualities should you be looking for when employing someone to join your SME leadership team?

According to Claudio Fernandez-Araoz, a leading global expert on leadership, potential trumps brains, experience and competency every time. He says that today’s effective leader possesses four hallmark traits:

  • Curiousity. They have a desire to seek out new experiences, knowledge and candid feedback, and demonstrate an openness to learning and change. Importantly, they never stop asking questions.
  • Insight. They have the ability to gather and make sense of information that suggests new possibilities. They have a unique vision and can ‘connect the dots’.
  • Engagement. They have a knack for using emotion and logic to communicate a persuasive vision, and they engage other people’s hearts and minds towards a compelling vision.
  • Determination. They have the wherewithal to fight for difficult goals despite challenges and to bounce back from adversity.

We know that jobs in the future will be different and more complex than they are today. So when choosing leaders for your team there needs to be a much stronger emphasis on potential and the ability to continue growing, learning and changing. Think about it. Even if you appoint someone today who seems to be the perfect fit, with the right skills, knowledge and competencies, it’s more likely than not that the job itself will change in the future – and you need leaders on your team who can rise to the challenge.

So next time you’re looking to employ someone to join your leadership team, remember to look beyond their skills and experience. Focus on their potential!

Emjay Insurance Brokers is the SME insurance broker of choice for the SME Association of Australia and are ideally placed to help you with all your insurance and risk requirements. Contact us today to discuss your needs on (02) 9796 0400.

Background source: Harvard Business Review – “21st Century Talent Spotting”

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