Wanted: Business leaders with emotion, intuition, purpose

‘The next generations want to develop the broad range of leadership skills needed’: report

Wanted: Business leaders with emotion, intuition, purpose
Many business executives are out of step with stakeholders, according to a new report.

Tackling the challenges of the coming decade to accelerate growth and improve societal outcomes will require a wider range of attributes and characteristics from leaders, according to a new research study from the World Economic Forum in collaboration with Accenture.

“The climate crisis, growing inequality and economic fragility threaten human wellbeing like never before,” says Adrian Monck, managing director for the World Economic Forum. “We need a stakeholder approach in which companies combine entrepreneurialism with purpose, working with others to improve the state of the world in which they operate. The good news is that the next generations want to develop the broad range of leadership skills needed to make this happen.”

The five elements at the heart of a new model of responsible leadership for an era of stakeholder capitalism are identified as:

• Stakeholder inclusion: Safeguarding trust and positive impact for all by standing in the shoes of diverse stakeholders when making decisions and fostering an inclusive environment in which diverse individuals have a voice and feel they belong.

• Emotion and intuition: Unlocking commitment and creativity by being truly human, showing compassion, humility and openness.

• Mission and purpose: Advancing common goals by inspiring a shared vision of sustainable prosperity for the organization and its stakeholders.

• Technology and innovation: Creating new organizational and societal value by innovating responsibly with emerging technology.

• Intellect and insight: Finding ever-improved paths to success by embracing continuous learning and knowledge exchange.

Seeking New Leadership is based on surveys of more than 20,000 people — comprising members of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders and Global Shapers communities (“emerging leaders”); CEOs and other business leaders; and employees, consumers and other stakeholder groups — as well as an econometric analysis of company performance and other original research.

It finds many business executives are out of step with stakeholders, who want leaders with more emotion and intuition and mission and purpose. Findings from an online focus group of more than 500 people from generation Y and generation Z (people born since 1980) conducted as part of the research also suggest that younger people believe that leadership decisions in the coming decade will require a balanced approach across all five attributes of responsible leadership. 

“Organizations have not only the opportunity, but an obligation, to drive organizational growth in tandem with positive social and environmental outcomes.  This starts with redefining what it means to lead responsibly,” said Ellyn Shook, Accenture’s chief leadership and human resources officer. “A new generation is leading the way, focused on driving value while honoring values ― where a sense of mission, stakeholder inclusion and compassion becomes second nature.”

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