Emerging Trends to Consider when Appointing Directors and Executives

By Roger Coetzer, Managing Director | Sirdar Australia

Senior roles in any business require having a high level of knowledge with regards to governance, legislation and compliance. It goes beyond the operational to the strategic. Whether you are appointing board members or senior executives, there are trends – some newer than others – that need to be considered when shortlisting candidates.

1. Diversity and Inclusion

Think beyond race, age and gender. Consider aspects such as thinking preferences, personality types and behavioural response. A healthy balance of such characteristics supports building an inclusive leadership team which results in better decision-making and improved corporate performance.

2. Digital Skills and Technology Expertise

Businesses require leaders who can guide companies through digital transformations and navigate the complexities of the rapidly evolving tech landscape. A proven track record and evidence of being able to leverage technology such as Artificial Intelligence to drive efficiency, enhance customer experiences, and stay ahead in a competitive market are key.

3. Sustainability Leadership

There is an ever-increasing focus on sustainability, social responsibility and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) considerations. Ensure that you prioritise appointing leaders with experience and expertise in these areas and those who can integrate ESG considerations into their strategic decision-making.

4.Global Experience

With businesses increasingly operating on a global scale, individuals with international experience and cross-cultural competence are in high demand. Those who can navigate diverse markets and regulatory environments, and contribute to the development of global strategies, will serve the business well.

5. Stakeholder Engagement

With a growing recognition that strong stakeholder relationships contribute to long-term corporate success, there is a greater emphasis on appointing those who can effectively engage with stakeholders beyond shareholders, including employees, customers, and communities. Candidates who have multi-sector experience will also be able to provide different perspectives on effective engagement.

6. Agile Leadership Mindset

Businesses are valuing leaders – and team members – who demonstrate agility and adaptability in the face of rapid market change. The ability to navigate uncertain and dynamic business environments is becoming a crucial trait for any senior role. Added to that is the ability to foster a culture of innovation and adaptability within teams. Leaders who can inspire and motivate teams, particularly in times of change, are increasingly valued.

7. Risk Management and Crisis Response

Ensure that candidates have the ability to handle risks and crises which are of a very different nature to those of five or ten years ago. Effective senior executives and board members should be capable of making sound decisions under pressure and steering the company through challenges.

8. Remote Leadership Skills

The rise of remote work and online meetings has accelerated the demand for those with strong virtual leadership capabilities. Consider adding search criteria such as experience in fostering collaboration in virtual environments, leading remote teams, and maintaining employee engagement from a distance to the list of preferred qualities.

As we all know, change is the only constant, hence why so many of these trends are brought about or impacted by change.

We are witnessing a paradigm shift as organisations recognise the importance of being able to leverage diverse, tech-savvy, and adaptive leaders who can steer companies through a complex and rapidly changing business landscape. Keeping abreast of these emerging trends is crucial at executive and board level. 

For further information about the contents of this article please contact Roger Coetzer at rogercoetzer@sirdargroup.com

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