Reports the conclusions of a study involving in‐depth interviews with 18 business leaders, focusing on the qualities and skills they felt to be essential for success in directing and guiding a large organization. These qualities include the ability to make sense of a complicated pattern of events and from this formulate clear goals for the organization; people and communication skills; integrity; drive and ambition. In selecting others, as potential future leaders and high‐flyers, this group of current leaders used the following criteria. There was high agreement that proven track record was vital, both as an indicator of future performance and to establish credibility. Another important characteristic is the ability to take an independent (even unpopular) line, and defend it. As could be predicted, interpersonal skills, team orientation, commitment and motivation were also seen as important.
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