Capp’s five-step approach to strengths-based recruitment

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December 2017
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Reena Jamnadas

Developing Business Critical Capabilities in Early Talent

Posted by: Dr Reena Jamnadas

 

Today I spoke to a candidate (let’s call her Subo) to discuss feedback on the strengths that enabled her to be successful in an assessment centre for an apprenticeship scheme. Subo was excited to receive feedback and brainstormed all the ways she imagined growing and developing within her first few months – she almost had to hold herself back once reality hit that she hadn’t actually started the apprenticeship yet!

 

Set against the backdrop of politicians pledging to create opportunities for young people to get into work through apprenticeships, this paints a promising picture about how eager young talent are to apply their skills in the workplace.

 

On the flip side, last week, the CIPD published an article emphasising the need for learning and development in organisations to deliver outcomes that are more acutely aligned to business strategy. Developing apprentices, graduates and ‘emerging leaders’ to develop capabilities that will deliver future business requirements is a critical challenge; yet it’s this very population of talent that are a force for culture change.

 

For early talent like Subo, whilst making an impact from ‘day one’ matters, being equipped to develop a rich career is equally important.  Doing both through developing the capabilities that the business needs is absolutely essential.

 

Often, this means building capabilities for future roles that negotiate unchartered territory. With many new roles, e.g., in digital and technology, evolving at pace, the key is to develop both core capabilities and an understanding of what a diverse range of career pathways would look like.

 

At Capp, we recognise the need to enable apprentices, graduates and emerging leaders to assess their own current and future capabilities so that they can strategise about their next leap. We do this by providing emerging talent and managers with assessment data about their current capability, future capacity and how these could map to potential career pathways.

 

The good news for young people is that organisations such as Lloyds Banking Group and Standard Chartered Bank are already using such assessments to develop ‘next level’ capabilities amongst apprentices and graduates. This means that young people like Subo can take responsibility for directing their own growth and careers – and managers have the data to support them in the right ways. We also support organisations to develop talent through action-focused interventions, workshop based learning, and high impact talent centres.

 

For more information about Capp’s approach to talent management, please contact the development solutions team on +44 (0) 2476 323363.

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The Four Secrets of Making an Impact

Posted By:  Reena Jamnadas

 

As we are partnering with Lloyds Banking Group to deliver their Graduate and Apprentice Development Journeys, we recently ran a session with 40 incredible apprentices about how to create an amazing personal impact.

 

The apprentices enjoyed the four secrets to making an impact- here’s a snapshot of what we shared:

 

Creating a positive impression can be the difference between starting a relationship on the right foot or the wrong foot. This is never truer than in the workplace. Whether you’re the CEO or a new member of a team, it’s as the saying goes: ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel’

 

What do you want to be known for? What impression do you want to leave on others? How can you create a lasting impression on the people that you work with?

 

Secret 1: It’s not just what you say, it’s how you say it

Have you ever met someone for the first time, and although they said ‘Great to meet you’, their body language didn’t quite match up? When you speak to others, it’s important that you are authentic and confident in the way that you come across. This might be in the way that you give a genuine smile, give a firm handshake, or have strong eye-contact.

 

Action: Think about what you would say if you had 60 seconds with a senior colleague in a lift who asked you what you most enjoy about your work.

 

Secret 2: Deliver quick wins

Quick wins allow you to show others what you can do – a small action that makes a big difference and helps you to stand out. Think about how you can make somebody else’s job easier. You can deliver a quick win by thinking about what you can improve, fix, or resolve quickly.

 

Action: What immediate opportunity do you have to volunteer for something? Think about who you will approach and how you can help.

 

Secret 3: Build your network

Knowing who you have in your network can help you identify people that can help you achieve your goals. Write down people you can go to for support, knowledge, to make connections in or outside of school – it may be colleagues, teachers, relatives, or friends. Remember, it’s important to practice giving as well as taking from people you know.

 

Action: Draw a map of people in your network. Write down how you can strengthen these connections through ways such as offering your help, connecting on LinkedIn, or sharing knowledge.

 

Secret 4: Excel at being a learner

Successful people never stop taking their growth seriously. This is a perfect time in your life to think about new talents or knowledge that you want to gain – think about what new things you need to learn to help reach your goals. Which sources of information will help you? Who can you approach?

 

Action: Brainstorm a ‘wish list’ of what you would like to learn over the next three months. Create an action plan of how you will make it happen: sources of information, people to approach, resources you need.

 

Which of these secrets will you apply today or share with an apprentice you work with?  

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Using Strengths to Recruit Talent on The Market Street: The Morrisons Journey

Posted by: Reena Jamnadas, Consulting Psychologist, Capp

 

 

In the current issue of The Graduate Recruiter, Carla Murray, Graduate Resourcing Manager at Morrisons wrote an article describing how in two years, Morrisons have gone from having minimal graduate presence to making it to The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers List  (if you missed the article, you can find it here - please note that the copyright is owned by AGR).

 

Capp have had the privilege of working closely with Morrisons to implement a strengths-based approach across their selection process, which has included a redesign of the sifting, interviewing and assessment methodology in 2013/14, resulting in a robust and consistent approach now being used across all of Morrisons’ 12 core business areas.

 

One of the most exciting shifts that Morrisons have made is to attract and recruit high performing graduates on the basis of their strengths. This includes an assessment of performance and energy/motivation for each of the strengths that candidates would need to use in order to deliver high performance as a Morrisons graduate.

 

So how exactly have we done this? Capp worked with Morrisons to deliver the following:

 

1. Strengths-based Campus Activities: Themed ‘The Market Street’, we designed innovative campus games for graduates through strengths cards enabling graduates to identify their strengths and how they might be useful across various business areas at Morrisons. It also featured an exercise enabling graduates to build their resilience in the face of setbacks, through identifying and using their strengths.

 

The aim of this was to create a differentiated, more individualised candidate attraction experience, enabling the Morrisons brand to stand out on campus. Research with previous clients show that 75% of candidates enjoyed the strengths-based process more than other recruitment processes, starting with strengths-based attraction.

 

2. Situational Strengths Test (SST): The SST is an online high volume strengths-based sifting tool that objectively and reliably assesses the strengths required for graduates at Morrisons. It presents candidates with typical scenarios that they would encounter as a Morrisons graduate and assesses how they would respond, enabling Morrisons to save time and resources by sifting only the highest quality candidates.

 

Morrisons have loved using the SST because it provides an early assessment of motivation and organisational fit, and also gives candidates a realistic job preview helping to encourage self-selection. We know that nearly 90% of candidates of previous clients also feel that the scenarios in an SST give a realistic insight into working life at an organisation. Nearly two thirds feel it is more challenging than other Situational Judgement Tests, and over 99% perceive the test as user friendly.

 

3. Strengths-based Video Interviews: Capp’s strengths-based interviews assess a candidate’s energy and motivation, as well their performance, resulting in the sifting of candidates that are likely to be highly engaged and productive at Morrisons if recruited. Through our partnership with Sonru, an asynchronous video-interviewing supplier, we designed a series of video interviews per business area for Morrisons to further screen candidates on the basis of their strengths.

 

Strengths-based video interviewing has provided Morrisons with a perfect platform for assessors to identify subtle emotional clues and body language, indicative of energy/motivation, which is reduced in a telephone interview. As well as this, Capp’s strengths-based interviews do not include probing questions that we often see in a competency interview. The strengths/video combination is therefore more naturally suited when used asynchronously. The beauty of strengths-based video interviewing is that candidates and assessors can conduct the interview at the time that suits them (within a stipulated time period).

 

4. Strengths-based Assessment Centre Interview: Capp designed a face-to-face strengths based interview for Morrisons to use at the final stage of the Assessment Centre.

 

One of the key benefits of strengths-based interviews is clear candidate differentiation of who has the strengths to succeed in the role and who doesn’t. Previous client research showed that 74% of assessors judged the strengths-based interview to better distinguish between low, average and high performers.

 

As well as strengths-based interviews being described as more enjoyable by both assessors and candidates, strengths-based interviews also elicit more honest candidate responses, delivering better assessment practice and improved selection decisions – 72% of interviewers judged the strengths-based interview to elicit less-rehearsed responses than other interview styles.

 

We simply cannot wait to see the results of Morrisons’ strengths-based graduate recruitment process this year! If you would like to keep up with ‘The Market Street’ and speak to Capp about using strengths-based assessment in your organisation, please contact me at reena.jamnadas@capp.co and uk.linkedin.com/in/reenajamnadas or call Capp on +44 (0)2476 323 363

 

 

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Use Your Exam Results as a Springboard for Success

Posted by: Amy Willocks & Reena Jamnadas, Consulting Psychologists, Capp

 

It is that time of year again: exam results time. After intense periods of studying, hard work, and persistence towards opening the door to your dreams and aspirations, now comes the time for what feels like Judgement Day.

 

You open that all-important envelope which contains either the key to unlock the door that you wanted – or – a different key, to a different door!

 

So whether you are rejoicing because you got the grades you need, or thinking about your next move, hold the thought that it’s what you do from here on that will reveal opportunity and unmask possibility.

 

We give you three tips below about how to build resilience and maximise this as a springboard for further success.

 

1. Develop a growth mindset

 

Do not catastrophise the situation by thinking that all your hopes are shattered forever. They are not! What are the things that you do have within your control that you can influence to find a different route to achieving your goals?

 

What specific positive skills, attitudes, and behaviours can you leverage? If you’re not sure, ask people that you trust for feedback.

 

What’s more is that many graduate employers are now increasing their focus on social mobility, embracing a broadened range of knowledge, skills and qualifications when recruiting. Qualifications are no longer the ‘be all and end all’ – watch this space for our case study on the recent success of the Nestlé Fast Start Programme.

 

2. Re-align with your goals, purpose and network

 

What meaningful goals have you set for yourself in your career? Maintain a focus on your purpose and goals in life, re-gain your sense of control and power, and carve out a different path forward. Identify who in your network you can draw on for support in the form of a trusted mentor.

 

It is very easy to just succumb or procrastinate when things do not go as planned, but taking an active approach and bouncing back from a setback will reveal possibilities that you may not ever have imagined.

 

3. Identify your strengths

 

Capp’s experience of how successful students rise above the rest is by knowing their strengths. Reflect on when you have been most energised – what specific things were you learning about or doing that would give you an insight into future areas of knowledge and expertise that would play to your strengths?

 

Increasingly, organisations such as Aviva, Barclays, EY, Morrisons, and Nestlé  are assessing graduates using strengths-based recruitment methods. It is crucial that you know your strengths and that you understand them – see www.realise2.com to discover your strengths!

 

So, if you are holding the key to a different door at any point in your life or career, we congratulate you! For now is the time that extraordinary possibilities can be unmasked before you…

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Are You a Good Performance Manager?

Posted by: Reena Jamnadas, Consulting Psychologist, Capp

 

“People leave managers not companies” – You have more than likely heard this said before, but the statistics behind it are quite staggering.

 

A Gallup poll of more than 1 million employees concluded that the number one reason people quit their jobs is a poor manager or immediate supervisor. The results also showed that poorly managed teams are on average 50% less productive and 44% less profitable than well-managed teams.

 

The results of a recent national survey also showed that 80% of employees who were very dissatisfied with their immediate supervisor were disengaged, and that 62% of engaged employees say their manager sets a good example, compared to 25% of people who are not fully engaged.

 

What are the reasons for these dismally low levels of engaged employees?

 

People Have Changed

 

Employee expectations have changed. It’s not just Gen Y – employees everywhere and of every generation expect more: more involvement, more accountability, and more recognition. When it comes to managing their performance, employees have shifted from being passive recipients to active agents.

 

Managers have changed too. Command and control is no longer cutting it – managers are expected to guide and coach, provide balanced, constructive feedback, and inspire people to achieve great things, rather than just to enforce performance standards.

 

Reassuringly, research by CIPD shows that when managers do get it right, many good results follow:

  • 25% increase in employee performance
  • 40% higher employee engagement
  • 18% growth in customer loyalty
  • 25% decrease in employee turnover
  • In the NHS, 1090 fewer deaths per 100,000 patient admissions.

 

Is Your Organisation Managing Performance in the Right Ways?

 

So how can your organisation develop the kind of managers that engage and inspire employees?

 

Through Capp’s 2012 Ideal Manager Survey and our work with highly engaged employees, we have identified 8 core questions to help you identify whether managers in your organisation are driving high performance in the right ways:

 

1. Are managers in your organisation skilled at identifying the strengths of their team members and managing high performance through these strengths?

 

Research by the Corporate Leadership Council in 2002 revealed that when managers focus on the strengths of employees, performance is likely to increase by 36%. Whereas when they focused on their weaknesses, performance decreased by 26%.

 

2. Are managers effective at building trusting, open and two-way relationships with their direct reports?

 

Research by the CIPD in 2012 showed that trust in a line manager is more important than trust in senior leaders or the organisation during times of difficulty and change.

 

3. Do managers develop better solutions through harnessing the diversity of their teams?

 

90% of respondents to Capp’s Ideal Manager Survey disagreed that all managers should manage in the same way, and instead, would develop better outcomes through harnessing the diversity of their teams.

 

4. Do managers in your organisation lead others with a sense of meaning and purpose?

 

99% of Capp’s Ideal Manager Survey respondents rated Mission as the most important and desired strength in their managers – managers that would engage them with a compelling vision, meaning and purpose, and authenticity.

 

5. Do managers in your organisation use effective delegation in order to play to the strengths of their team members?

 

Strengths-based delegation has become known to be a manager’s core tool for translating organisational strategy first into team goals, and then into each individual’s objectives, in a way that engages and plays to each individual’s strengths.

 

6. Do managers in your organisation provide regular positive and constructive feedback to their team members?

 

When researchers investigated the drivers of high performance amongst 19,187 employees in 34 organisations, they discovered that the top driver of performance was giving fair, informal, and accurate feedback – and not waiting for the dreaded annual performance review.

 

7. Do managers in your organisation coach their team to encourage daily progress and longer term career development?

 

The evidence shows that the crux of motivation is actually day-to-day productivity, as well as being able to see a path for career progression. As such, job satisfaction typically results from being productive towards one’s day-to-day goals, as well as one’s intrinsic goals for the future.

 

8. Do your managers build resilience and manage change and uncertainty effectively?

 

Capp’s recent research with leaders nominated as being ‘wise’ across dozens of blue-chip companies revealed that employees develop change readiness, agility and resilience when their leaders and managers manage change and uncertainty effectively and with confidence.

 

We know that many people are first promoted into management for their strong “technical skills” – solid knowledge of their own business. But that’s only part of the managerial equation; everyone has his or her strengths and weaknesses. It’s worth reflecting on the way that you use these to engage your people.

 

What other skills do you think are important to engage employees for high performance? Share your thoughts using the Comment function below.

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Managing Generation Y? What Do They Want From You as Their Manager?

Posted by: Reena Jamnadas & Emma Trenier

 

It’s pitched as a strap line on the Association of Graduate Recruiters’ (AGR) website: Attracting and retaining the cream of the nation’s graduate talent is getting harder and you need all the help you can get”. And they are absolutely right.

 

The growing research about Generation Y echoes this, where today’s younger employees are achievement-oriented and hungry for challenge and meaning in their work. As organisations compete for available talent, employers cannot ignore the needs, desires and attitudes of this emerging generation.

 

Over a four month period, 1180 people took Capp’s online Ideal Manager Survey, where employees across all ages, genders and backgrounds answered questions about whether anyone can be a good manager.

 

Fascinatingly, the results reported by younger employees revealed specific strengths that they want most in their managers. These include:

 

  • Work Ethic: Younger employees value managers who role-model working hard, putting a lot of effort into everything that they do;
  • Resolver: Solving challenging problems is a strength that younger employees feel is important for managers to demonstrate;
  • Spotlight: Managers who demonstrate a love of being the centre of other people’s attention are valued highly amongst younger employees;
  • Detail: Conscientiously focusing on the small things to ensure everything is accurate and error-free is important for managers to demonstrate to younger employees.

 

These strengths paint a picture of a Generation Y that is strongly inspired and driven by managers who work hard and make high quality contributions, showcasing their knowledge and talents, whilst all the time ensuring accuracy and high standards.

 

So as employers and managers, how can we fulfil the needs of our younger employees, and thereby retain their engagement and talent? Below are five top tips:

 

1. Be a role model of working hard, meaningfully: As the saying goes, “work hard, play hard”. Demonstrate a healthy level of work ethic towards meaningful goals. Bring employees on board and get them involved in specific strategic goals by helping them see where their best contribution lies.

 

2. Ensure you resolve challenging issues: Identify problems or challenges that may be impacting on younger employees and/or your team more widely. Support younger employees to develop confidence and autonomy to resolve challenges successfully themselves too.

 

3. Provide exposure to different audiences: Identify opportunities for raising awareness about your team’s contributions in the spirit of knowledge management.  Find opportunities for younger employees to do the same through developing new connections for them, seeking speaking opportunities, or writing about their work through emails, articles or blogs.

 

4. Exemplify high quality work: Reflect on ways in which you can use your strengths to promote quality and accuracy as a manager in all your work and interactions. In addition, if younger employees are demonstrating other positive behaviours, then encourage and affirm these.

 

5. Adopt strengths-based team working: Identify how younger employees could partner with other members of the team, so that they complement each other’s strengths on a particular task or project. This is a powerful way of collaborating.

 

So starting from today, how will you adapt your management style to inspire the talent and engagement of your younger employees?

 

Download Capp’s Performance Manager White Paper to find out more about what people want from their managers.

 

 

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What Do Employees Want from Their Managers?

Posted by: Reena Jamnadas & Emma Trenier

 

Whatever our role or level in an organisation, we all have high expectations of our bosses. In particular, we want them to understand our strengths and preferences and tailor their approach to our needs – this came across loud and clear from the 1180 respondents in Capp’s recent Ideal Manager Survey.

 

We also place enormous value in this relationship working positively for us – a miserable, ineffective relationship with their line manager is the most common reason behind an employee’s decision to leave a company.

 

The results of Capp’s Ideal Manager Survey showed that 90% of employees disagreed that all managers should manage in the same way. This appreciation of diverse management styles was also shown in the breadth and range of strengths which employees thought were important for their managers.

 

Notwithstanding this, we see that employees most commonly want their managers to have the following strengths:

 

  • Mission: Providing a sense of meaning and purpose, always working towards a longer-term goal;

 

  • Enabler: Focused on creating the right conditions for people to grow and develop for themselves;

 

  • Personal Responsibility:  Taking ownership of their decisions and holding themselves accountable for what they do;

 

  • Humility: Happy for others to share the credit for their team’s successes;

 

  • Esteem Builder: Able to help people believe in themselves and see what they are capable of achieving.

 

Do any of these strengths surprise you? Perhaps not, as this simple profile paints a picture of a trusted individual who leads through a combination of clear vision, personal commitment and a focus on developing others.

 

How can you develop these characteristics within your management style? Here are our five top tips:

 

  • Create a sense of purpose: Understand what drives each of your team members and gives them a sense of meaning in their work. As you delegate work, help individuals to see how it relates to this wider sense of meaning. In practice: this means spending time talking about context before focusing on detail.

 

  • Role model responsibility:  If you want your team to develop their personal responsibility, choose a handful of areas in which you will actively demonstrate how you do this yourself. In practice: as well as taking responsibility yourself, take responsibility for training your team to do the same.

 

  • Share successes: Recognise the culture and climate that you want to build within your team.  If it is one of shared ownership and collaboration, then seek to share team successes in ways that credentialise others. In practice: share credit with others in a range of ways including public praise, copying senior managers into positive feedback emails, and thanking individuals one to one.

 

  • Give specific positive feedback: Think about providing positive feedback just as carefully as giving ‘constructive’ feedback. Let people know what they have done well and what you would like them to keep doing. In practice: give specific, targeted feedback, along with evidence, when you see great work.

 

  • Set your team up to succeed: Find opportunities to stretch each person in your team and provide the autonomy for them to take full ownership. In practice: identify each person’s strengths so that you align opportunities to these strengths and can be sure the opportunity will provide a positive stretch.

 

By managing in this way, you’ll be taking important to steps to delivering your employees what they want, in turn helping you to deliver the performance you need.

 

Download Capp’s Performance Manager White Paper to find out more about what people want from their managers.

 

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The Defining Power of Three Small Letters: Helping Students with their A-level Results

Posted by: Reena Jamnadas, as part of School Leavers’ Fortnight

 

With A-level results released today, we won’t be surprised to hear, yet again, that double-edged sword of a question: Are exams getting easier or is the intelligence of our students increasing? The pressure for students, nonetheless, is fierce. Places at university, internships, and jobs are more competitive than ever before; choosing the right course or vocation could be career-defining, and the fees for university places are higher than ever before.

 

Capp’s experience of how successful students rise above the rest is by knowing their strengths. Whether you are a parent, guardian, or a careers adviser, there is a significant role that you can play in enabling young people to do this. 

 

Strengths are the things we do well and find energising. People management research shows that when we use our strengths, we experience higher levels of performance, productivity, engagement, self-esteem, resilience, happiness and vitality.

 

As a result, it’s no wonder that graduate recruiters in companies such as Ernst & Young and Barclays Investment Bank are using strengths-based recruitment to hire graduates who are high performers; graduates who have the natural strengths and motivation to deliver exceptional performance in their role.

 

In addition, as a result of graduates knowing their strengths through strengths awareness sessions led by Capp, Warwick Student Careers and Skills at the University of Warwick found a measured increase in self-awareness, self-confidence, career clarity, confidence in writing CVs and articulating their strengths to recruiters.

 

You can play your part in helping students go from average to A+ through helping them to make the right choices about their future career. The key is facilitating a conversation about the specific activities that they perform well and find energising, and then helping them to align these to their career search, through the steps I set out below:

 

Step 1 – Strengths Spotting through Tasks: Look for things that the person does well, enjoys doing, and picks up easily. What do they have natural motivation for? What do they learn quickly? What do they do when they have the choice? These are all things that can be signs of a strength.

 

Step 2 – Check the Data: Review the strengths that have emerged through the above questions and check this against a student’s past and current academic grades and feedback. If a student has described a passion for being detail-oriented, curious, and being great at conducting experiments, yet have consistently achieved lower grades in Science subjects, you may want to know why.

 

Step 3 – Caution against Learned Behaviours: Learned behaviours are defined as things that we do well but find draining to do. Over-using our learned behaviours has shown to lead to increased levels of stress, disengagement and burnout over time. Be aware of these when conversing with students: If a student’s grades are high in specific subjects, but the interest, energy and motivation isn’t there, search deeper for a student’s true areas of strength because that is where they will excel sustainably. If you don’t, they could burn out over time.

 

Step 4 – Align Tasks to Potential Courses / Careers: Once you have identified possible areas of strengths for a student, start to identify the specific activities that a student would naturally perform well in and find energising. What courses or vocations would provide the opportunity for your student to do these activities and therefore use their strengths?

 

Step 5 – Go for It: When you have helped the student to spot their strengths, distinguish them from their learned behaviours, and match these strengths to their course or career choice, then help them to demonstrate that they have what it takes to interviewers, assessors and recruiters. See the earlier blogs of School Leavers’ Fortnight for more help here.

 

As Aristotle once said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”. Enabling your students to understand the richness of their strengths is one of the greatest gifts that you could ever give to them.

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Are organisations today losing their moral fibre?

Posted by: Reena Jamnadas

 

The resignation of a top executive at the world’s most powerful investment bank, Goldman Sachs, hit headlines across every mainstream newspaper last week. Greg Smith said he quit the Wall Street giant due to a collapse of its “moral fibre”. He described how leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. But now, all that is left of the culture is a rigorous focus on money-making, even if adverse to the best interests of their clients and customers.

 

The pressure is exacerbated by this issue for the government to focus on how to tighten regulations and ensure the investment banking industries of the City and Wall Street are focused appropriately on their customers and treating them fairly.

 

However, is the real issue here about the urgent need for good leadership?

 

Business researchers, Naumann and Bennett, described leaders as being ‘climate engineers’; what they convey through their personality, values, beliefs, preferences, and behaviours leaves an imprint on the character of those they lead. Events such as those seen at Goldman Sachs speak not only of the need for effective leadership, but more so, the need for effective and wise leadership where leaders are guided by doing what is right.

 

At Capp, we have interviewed dozens of top executive leaders from blue-chip companies such as Microsoft, Sony, and O2 that were nominated as being “wise” in their organisations.  Here are some of the characteristics that these wise leaders demonstrated:

 

Characteristics of Wise Leaders in Blue-Chip Companies

 

  • Guided by a strong ethical code: No matter how tough the decision, wise leaders are always guided by ‘doing the right thing’ and moreover, they have the integrity and courage to do so. They are by no means evangelical about their ethics, but a strong moral fibre guides their outlook on their vision, strategy and approach which earns them respect in the eyes of their followers.

 

  • Optimise positive outcomes: Despite their complex environments and pressures, wise leaders ensure that they make decisions that optimise outcomes for themselves, their stakeholders, and external circumstances. If these three are not in alignment,  they are likely to think twice before committing to any action in order to avoid catastrophe.

 

  • Strong judgement: Wise leaders have an acute sense of judgement. They combine tacit knowledge with experience and insight to make strategic judgements and act accordingly.

 

  • Leave a legacy: Creating a powerful, long-lasting and positive impact is greatly important to wise leaders, no matter how small the task. Wise leaders create a legacy for their organisations through their vision and decisions that they make, relationships with internal and external stakeholders, and the way that they solve complex problems.

 

  • Act with purpose: Wise leaders have a deep sense of purpose that underlies everything that they do. For wise leaders, this purpose is related to contributing towards the greater good such as enabling their customers/clients to have a greater quality of life, or realising the best of people across their organisation.

 

  • Humility: Wise leaders are not ego-centric, but neither are they meek or mild. Often their characters are robust and consistent, but wise leaders always see their contributions as part of a bigger picture. They are always willing to learn from others, accept and learn from their mistakes, and give others credit where credit is due.

 

  • High self-awareness: A strong awareness of their strengths and weaknesses enables these wise leaders to lead where they need to, and work alongside others to compensate for their weaknesses. Wise leaders are acutely aware of the implications of their behaviour on others, their organisation, and their external environments which enables them to take multiple perspectives.

 

  • Comfortable with managing uncertainty : Especially in today’s climate of financial pressure, global competition, governmental initiatives, and an evolving economic and ethical climate, wise leaders recognise and effectively manage uncertainty and ambiguity. They are centred in their approach and recognise the need to remain focused no matter what the challenge.

 

How can we cultivate wise leadership?

 

As leaders, how can we develop these characteristics in ourselves? A good starting place would be to ask yourself the following questions:

 

1.       How would you describe your values and ethics? Take time out yourself and with your team to answer this question. Ask yourself how these values and ethics can be embedded in the ways that you work together and with your customers/clients.

 

2.       What do you pay attention to when making complex decisions? Pay attention to the holistic picture and consider the consequences of decisions on yourself, your stakeholders and external circumstances. Use your networks to develop relationships with other people that can offer you multiple perspectives.

 

3.       What do you want to be known for? Ask others for feedback on the legacy that you have left so far in your organisation. Are things heading in the right direction? Consider your purpose and assess what opportunities you have to create a powerful legacy through your vision, strategy, relationships with others, and contributions to your organisation.

 

4.        What are your strengths and weaknesses? Don’t underestimate the power of your strengths. Explore what strengths you can use to help you achieve your goals through your role. Do you have people around you that could help compensate for your weaknesses? To help use your self-awareness, draw a network map and consider how your actions could impact positively or negatively on others.

 

5.       How do you feel about uncertainty? Reflect on which strengths have helped you to remain centred in uncertain or ambiguous situations in the past, and what decisions you can make in the here and now that will help safeguard your future.

 

So, developing these characteristics of wise leaders may not be peculiar to just what Goldman Sachs need, but what every organisation is calling out for in today’s complex and challenging environments.

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