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Responsible leaders are strong
Date : 2015-05-22


Responsible leaders are strong 

Four traits of next-generation leaders


Hyeonman Shin(CEO)

Careercare Newsletter(June, 2015)





A next step for a chief executive officer who underwent trial and error to bring his company onto a right track is putting all-out efforts to find next-generation leaders. The CEO might have a little room for considering cultivation of leadership candidates because he has focused only on growing the company. After achieving the stabilization, however, he is willing to find and foster potential leaders for a long-term growth of the company. Nonetheless, many CEOs have no standards of selecting whom to train as next leaders. 

First of all, leader should have good eyes and ears. The leader needs an insight in order to see things others cannot and draws significance out from what others overlook. Because some are born with natural insightfulness, it cannot be developed only by one’s willpower. Therefore, to train well-qualified candidate for certain job positions or roles, CEO should make sure that the talent have apt competency. 

Second, leader should believe in oneself. Leader is the one who leads organization to its destination even in uncertain circumstances. As a lot of people around the leader pouring out opinions on where to go and how to get there, the only person he can rely on is himself. If the leader fails to believe in oneself and does nothing but hear others, it is highly likely to put his organization into danger of being disorganized.     

Although overconfidence may sometimes be a problem, a leader who causes bigger problems is one who relies on the decision of others rather than one who sticks to his own opinion. In particular, one who does not believe oneself tends not to trust others as well, making it difficult to build up trust among members of organizations. Therefore, in order to assure if the internal candidate is qualified to become a leader, CEOs need to pay close attention on whether the potential leader has strong faith in him. 

Third, leader should determine and make decisions by himself. It is not easy to determine and come to a decision in challenging situations. 

Historically, not a few leaders let others determine and make decision, and eventually did harm to their countries and organizations. It is similar in corporate management. Like in an Army, determination and making decisions made by those in charge have a critical influence over companies. When company is in a crisis, the success and fall depend mostly on decision making by leaders.  

A time bomb often appears in films. Without knowing what to do, main characters cannot decide whether to cut a line or not and which line cut until a few seconds before the bomb explosion. In companies, a leader also face similar situations that they should make an important decision. However, quite a number of employees try to delay the decision and rely on the decision of their superiors. It is no doubt that CEOs cannot let such employees take responsibility for the management of organizational operation and performance. 

Lastly, leader should take the responsibility of consequences. There are not many leaders who take a sole responsibility of result in companies. Because they are afraid of carrying the ball, they try to avoid making a decision on their own. In organizations led by such leaders, decision-making is often postponed and executive ability becomes poor. Obviously, such organizations hardly bring about good results. 

Among the four qualifications of a good leader, the most important one is taking responsibility. To be responsible for the consequences, leaders are required to have the other three traits as well.  

Growth and performance of an organization count on the number and ability of leadership it possesses. Unless a company has a pool of competent leaders, it cannot expect to have stable growth. Therefore, nurturing talented leaders is the most significant duty of CEOs.  

Cultivating leaders is like growing trees. Much time and effort are required. As if saplings cannot grow into big trees within a short period of time, it is hard to expect the CEOs to achieve satisfactory results in the short term. Looking out 10 years or 20 years from now, they should strive to nurture new leaders. Cultivating future leaders is in line with setting up a future vision for the company.  

CEOs should better seek out ways to train talented potential leaders for the companies, because leaders set visions and realize them together with CEOs. If they find out that internal training programs are insufficient and rely on external programs, the potential talents are likely to be leaders for competitive company. Therefore, CEOs should play a critical role in training leaders in customized ways. Of course, leaders can be scouted. But it takes as much time and cost to train competent internal candidates as hiring external candidates to take root and exert their capability.
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