Leadership competencies for the future

By Gillian Lees

I’m delighted to tell you about a great new report for CGMAs on leadership – The Invisible Elephant and the Pyramid Treasure.  But I’ll start with some context.

Why a report on leadership?  The simple answer is that when we interviewed 17 CEOs, chairmen and other corporate leaders for Rebooting Business: valuing the human dimension, they told us that they don’t just want people who are strong in their core areas of professional expertise, but also have skills in management competencies such as leadership and communication.   So it is crucial for all CGMAs to ensure that they are focussing on these areas to future-proof their careers.

The report is one of the many outcomes of an ongoing partnership that CIMA has with the leading UK-based ‘think and do’ tank, Tomorrow’s Company which looks at the role of business and how to achieve enduring business success.  The report was authored by John Knights, Chairman of LeaderShape and published by Tomorrow’s Company in partnership with CIMA and others.  I’ve been involved in a number of what I call ‘TomCom’ projects over the last few years and represent CIMA on the Tomorrow’s Good Governance Forum, so I am really pleased that we have been able to make this report available to CGMAs.

But I can guess what you are really wondering.  What’s with the elephant and the pyramid?  The ‘Invisible Elephant’ refers to the saying ‘the elephant in the room’ when we refer to something that everyone in the room knows is a serious issue, but which nobody is willing to mention.  For many organisations, leadership is the highest priority elephant.  Good leadership is becoming even more important, given that there has been an unprecedented change in the demands of leadership over the last decade or so.  This has been created by social and technological change, by globalisation and by growing environmental concerns.  This has highlighted a need for leaders who prioritise the true stakeholders of their organisations - customers, employees, suppliers, the community, the planet, and the shareholders - rather than putting personal reward first.

The ‘Pyramid Treasure’ refers to the ‘Eight Integral Competencies of Leadership’ and the report describes the key steps in the journey towards becoming a ‘Transpersonal Leader’.  The report also includes a number of case studies and articles including ‘What makes a great finance leader?’   You might find some of the report challenging and even uncomfortable, but I hope you’ll find it thought-provoking.  In particular, I hope it will give you a real insight into what you need to do differently yourself to become a better leader.