Article Written by Nick Roud. Leadership Coach
Definitive Leadership Guide 2024 For CEOs And Leaders.
The history of leading has been well and truly documented by some wonderful educators around the world. For thousand of years there have been various degrees of comprehensive variations that leading brings. From global consultancy firms, through to global heads of state, to board rooms and executive teams all have a slight different appetite for leadership.
Leadership has and will always bring about a slightly different lens. It is a massive topic, a global power house and every single organsiton from sole trader to global giant will have leaders working within them. Some good, some not so good and some outright tragic leaders. I look forward to contributing towards and shaping over the years to come.
Right now as we transition into a new year 2024, leadership has changed and moved on quickly from 2023 whilst not losing its origin essentials. Decisive decisions are in demand. Leaders are short on time, spread thinly and for a leader to succeed in 2024 he or she will need to ensure they are on top of their game.
As a leadership coach, partnering Chief Executives Officers, leaders and emerging leaders in my coaching business Nick Roud Coaching, leadership boils down to a few specific set of behaviours. Those individual behaviours all are equal. None are greater than the other. All must be on point and be managed exceptionally well. Nothing can slip below a certain level, the balance is finite yet those who achieve effectiveness are the ones who have something inside that drives them, forms and shapes them. From the outside it looks effortless but knowing these leaders a lot of hidden demons bubble away, am I good enough, I can’t do that, what if this happens etc, self doubt – all great leaders have doubt. Leadership cannot be fake, it mustn’t be pushed or rushed. Leadership is a beautiful things its like watching a beautiful artist at work, with each stroke of the brush brings the final painting to life! One step at a time, slowly and meticulously.
As a people leader knowing the importance of those behaviours will be critical in 2024, when and where not to be using them is part of the ongoing development that effective leaders continually work on (daily).
There will be times throughout 2024 when a leader will need to lean more on one behaviour over another. For instance, the board and CE are contemplating an acquisition. The very fact that maybe only a few key people such as Board Chair, members of the Board and possibly a couple of the executive leadership team will be aware of such activity means that the CEO will be leaning more on there strategic thinker behaviour and less on creation of vision. Or lets say the CEO is delivering its three year vision may mean the CE will lean more on influencing/communication as apposed to decision making.
Leadership is very much like gardening. You wouldn’t plant out a specific vegetable until the soil is perfectly ready! Nor would you prune the plum tree in the middle of blossom turning to fruit. The astute leader not only appreciates the smaller things they will keep close to the aspects which make the most impact to his/her organisation.
Where is leadership heading in 2024?
As society continues to be ever more connected, technology advancements continue to push the limits of what is possible, the fundamentals of leading will be more and more put to the test. Human connection, physical connection, consistent engagement with your people is what 2024 will need. Ethics and behaviours are going to be on speed dial. Markets will continue to evolve, opportunities will remain high and the leader who is at the helm will need to be very aware of impacts both positive and negative. Having the ability to remain true to ones values whilst driving forwards will give leaders a great deal to contemplate as they reflect back on what they achieved in 2024.
I also believe that in 2024 we will start to see a dual role of the Chief Executive Officer. Not only will this fundamentally bring greater benefit to organisations, it will also bring about a bit of spice to really keep momentum up. Think about the beauty of what that could bring to the organisation!
Lets think about the quiet introvert CEO who isn’t comfortable standing up in front of a large group of investors, media etc sharing with the direction the organisation. The more naturally charismatic CEO would be in his/her element holding the fort. That quieter CE would be a real enabler of bring teams and people together whilst the more flamboyant CE would be out their leading with character and passion. That is not to say quiet ceos are not passionate they are and they do this exceptionally well. Again as we think about our natural preferences and strengths do we really believe two CEOs could make a greater impact for an organisation! Well we will just need to watch this space. I have a feeling that it would.
What is changing around leadership?
Peter F. Drucker the godfather of management thinking stuck to many principles which are more relevant than ever before. He wrote and taught many things, a few examples are still very much at the forefront of a leadership today and will outlast any of us.
*Knowing where you spend your time
*What is the plan
*Knowing your customer etc.
These are all very much important today as they were when he penned his books, advised organisations or spoke at prestigious universities. It’s getting the very basics right of leadership that will elevate you as a leader in 2024. I’d encourage a leader to avoid the quick hacks and instant gratification. Continue to play the long game.
My observations as we head into 2024 see a lighter burden placed onto the CEOs to have all the answers. The focus for the CE will remain hiring smarter leaders around them. Think of the conductor of an orchestra standing tall and at the very top of his/her game, the conductor has surrounded themself with wonderful experts or artists as I like to call them, from strings, woodwind, the brass and percussion, each section of the orchestra know the part that they each play to ensure the script comes together, in time, on point and that it moves the listeners.
Consider that orchestral team as the CEOs leadership team, each hired for their expertise, each understands how to play their instrument and makes beautiful magic as they read and move the song forwards. You won’t see the conductor jumping of the stage to tell the woodwind person how to play their flute would you! A slight nod of the conductors head, a frown will keep all in order and allow that expert to keep up.
The role of the CEO will be to ensure each member of his/lead team aka the CEOs artists have the same song script, that they all know the vision and meaning behind the picture, what is expected – what will not be tolerated etc.
Boards will need to choose leaders who can clearly articulate complex problems and think differently when under pressure. The CEO of 2024 and beyond is going to have to smash down silos and be very capable of brining various departments, cultures and countries closer together.
The word communication both written and verbal will remain fundamental to leaders around the world. Not ducking away from the harder conversations, not playing favourites and ensuring those who bring different thought to an organisation are allowed to be part of the conversation.
Putting the customer front and centre will not only be expected it will be the making or breaking of an organisation and that of the CEO and lead team. The appetite towards values will once again be put to the test, will we see a change of trajectory towards more human customer service or will AI and technology lead the way. I know from personal experience having the human connection is vitally important when dealing with providers.
I believe the quiet leader will flourish over the next few years as boards look to harness the power of making things happen as a collective rather than an individual. Leaders are going to have to face the fact that good clear and creative communication is not just for those in executive positions. Educating the entire organisation to harness the direction will enable organisations to really leverage its potential. When you see a musician play an instrument it moves you. When you see a leader speak in 2024 it is going to have to move you. Move you to take action!
How will the CEO in 2024 lead?
It’s getting lonelier for CEOs. The world is watching and taking more note of your behaviours than ever before. The CEO and leader of 2024 will have to take risk, it may be contrary to what others think and a little outside the norm, but if you are not turning up with a can do attitude that drives a world-class view where second best isn’t an option then you may not last long into 2024 as a leader. People want to work for winning CEOs, they want to be lead by leaders who have a very clear vision, who care, who roll up their sleeves and are street smart. They want to be stretched and grown and they will quickly leave an organisation where bad behaviours are not stamped on quickly.
CEOs in 2024 will open doors for others to walk through, they will remove dead waste and above all ensure there people are working effectively, passion about what they are doing and how their work will impact the organisation today and into the future. Building strong teams around him/her will be a priority that will heat up in the early part of 2024. We will see movement around the top table as CEs look to double down on their bench. The results focused CEO will be measuring themself, they will seek feedback from their board, their staff, their customers. Its going to be imperative that the CEO will build a strong team, not just on personalities/skills but on commitment, trust and protection!
2024 is a good time to be a leader.
Nick Roud is a multi-award winning leadership coach,
nickroud.com | global award winning leadership coach | +6421375630