By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. Continue More information

The Conversation - May Edition

May

Welcome to The Conversation. In this issue, as well as highlighting company and client news, we will be exploring what leadership means today and what it needs to become in order to address the challenges of tomorrow. To broaden the conversation, Sermelo asked three friends for their answers to the following questions:

  • What qualities will make a leader great in today’s business environment?
  • What are the three biggest challenges facing leaders when it comes to engaging employees and driving performance?
  • Are leaders born or built?

Our thanks go to Rhymer Rigby, Financial Times management columnist and the author of Business Thinkers Who Changed the World (2011) and The Careerist (Sept 2012); Brian Bannister, Head of Global Communications at KPMG International and Per Heggenes, The CEO of The Ikea Foundation, for sharing their thoughts in The Forum.

Sermelo News

Sermelo is pleased to welcome John Stanley to the growing team, who further strengthens the company's public affairs capabilities.

Congratulations are also in order for Sara Benwell, who has been promoted to senior consultant and Maria Shopova, who has been shortlisted as the CIPR’s Outstanding Young Communicator category.

And while we have our trumpet out, we should also mention that Sermelo has been shortlisted in the CIPR’s Outstanding Small Consultancy category and for a Gold Sabre Award for Superior Achievement in Measurement and Evaluation for the Gap Analysis that we worked on with IKEA.

We have also been awarded SABRE Certificate of Excellence for our website, so please remember to visit (and bookmark) www.sermelo.com and read our blogs on leadership.

Please feel free to post your comments on these blogs, or contact us with any thoughts on future themes you would like us to cover.

Client News

Norwegian, Europe’s third largest low cost airline has recently opened a London Gatwick base, and is offering new routes to Southern Europe.

The company’s distinct business model, which focuses on using new aircraft to improve the customer experience and lower operating costs proved highly topical, and the BBC news online feature was one of the ten most read stories of the day.

The Sermelo media team were also able to secure interviews with The Financial Times, Bloomberg, The Evening Standard, The Independent & The Sun and well as arranging an informal lunch briefing with the leading specialist publications.

Out and About

London Business School's 2013 Global Leadership Summit was a great reminder of how important it is for today's leaders to correctly address past failures and prepare for rising societal expectations ahead. The existing structures and models of leadership were debated, along with their impact on the current political, corporate, environmental, and social landscape. Several themes resonated with my own beliefs and in particular with what I think we should pay attention to:

  • LBS Professor Lynda Gratton referenced her Future of Work research and argued that future leadership will be about authenticity and the capacity to create a strong narrative that resonates with a diverse workforce and customers. She urged today's leaders to create a world view of the issues and build scenario-based approaches
  • Unilever's CEO Paul Polman highlighted that effective leadership today is all about building alliances with others to solve ever growing societal challenges. He echoed opinions that leadership today should be about cooperation, not competition
  • Finally, in an impactful conversation with CNN's Richard Quest, Iceland’s President Ólafur Grímsson advised leaders of tomorrow to go back to basics and truly trust the wishes and address the expectations of the people they are accountable to

The Forum

Rhymer Rigby, Financial Times

What qualities will make a leader great in today’s business environment?

Great leadership qualities such as being inspirational and visionary are perennial, but in difficult times traits like toughness and resilience come to the fore.

What are the three biggest challenges facing leaders when it comes to engaging employees and driving performance?

1. Making people feel as if they’re part of something bigger than themselves.
2. Making people feel that their contribution is valued and they are appreciated.
3. Especially in a long recession, motivating people when career progression is limited, because those above them are not moving and money (for pay-rises, etc.) is in short supply.

Are leaders born or built?

To adapt Twelfth Night, some people are born leaders, some achieve leadership and others have leadership thrust upon them.

Brian Bannister, Head of Global communications for KPMG

What qualities will make a leader great in today’s business environment?

The same qualities that have always characterised great leaders; vision, charisma and durability. They are just subjected to greater scrutiny today than ever before!

What are the three biggest challenges facing leaders when it comes to engaging employees and driving performance?

Trust in leaders (or the lack of it), making sure the reality matches the rhetoric (and especially that line managers practice what the leader preaches) and the amount of noise within and outside organisations competing for employees’ attention.

Are leaders born or built?

Some of the most effective leaders I have worked with weren’t born with natural charisma or gravitas. But they all developed an acute awareness of what it takes to inspire people to follow them.

Per Heggenes, CEO of IKEA Foundation

What qualities will make a leader great in today’s business environment?

Ability to constantly question the status quo, understand the rapidly changing global environment on all levels (business, religious, social, political, regional), establish effective team of teams and demonstrate social and emotional intelligence.

What are the three biggest challenges facing leaders when it comes to engaging employees and driving performance?

Ability to identify and put to use the energy of true changemakers, create an environment of empathy and tolerance and reward the right behaviour.

Are leaders born or built?

Leadership can be learnt – as everything else in life – but it helps to be exposed to a variety of cultures and languages at an early stage in life.  In a rapidly changing globalized world, a leader can’t possibly keep up with all developments and thus needs a trusted team of open-minded advisors to make the right decisions.

Category

Leadership

Share

  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google+

Comments

No comments have been made yet

Add new comment

(comments will be moderated before being published)

*Required fields

Latest Tweets

  1. New research shows the best way to keep our mental abilities in older age is to do 'intellectual activity' through… t.co/FKP6BIwFBx11 Dec
  2. @PhoenixCronin Hi Phoenix, we have a spokesperson who could potentially be interested in speaking to you about this… t.co/JPy3xQ88Ay04 Dec
  3. 7% fall in share price to Marriott International shows the damage of #cyber #attack and the importance of #customer… t.co/bsx5FCX45G30 Nov
Sign up for The Conversation: