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In different parts of the world leaders set priorities between different qualities, but the quality- winner can still be determined. For the majority, for the next five years, the most valuable quality of the leader will be the ability to think creatively. It is extremely difficult to instill creative thinking in a young generation because of lots of helping services that facilitate student’s life like, modern gadgets, cribs etc. Anyway, creativity has the chance to flourish and help businesses all over the world.

Difficult choice

leadership steve jobs

To understand how leaders respond to unprecedented competition and the new economic situation, IBM Global Business Services staff talked to company executives and civil services worldwide. More than 1,500 people participated in the survey. They were from sixty countries and thirty-three branches.

As it turned out, less than half of respondents believe that their companies are sufficiently prepared to ensure that they can handle an extremely volatile and increasingly complex business environment. Managers are faced with big changes: the new regulations, a change in “centers of power”, the acceleration of the transformation of the industry, the growing volume of information and rapidly changing consumer preferences.

The majority of survey participants believe that they can deal with all of this only through the promotion of creativity in companies. When executives were asked to choose from a list of three leadership qualities, the most important for the new economic situation, their often choice was creativity.

Views on the most important leadership qualities were distributed as follows (the percentage of the respondents who reported the particular quality):

The ability to be creative – 60%, honesty – 52%, global thinking – 35%, decisiveness- 30% transparency – 28%, love for the work and commitment to sustainable development – 26%, modesty and justice – by 12%.

According to the surveyed executives, creative approach involves the following leadership qualities:

  1. The ability to develop new business models to achieve the strategic goals;
  2. The absence of stagnation, encouraging subordinates to a reasonable risk for the development of new approaches;
  3. Courage in the adoption of new organizational forms under the new circumstances;
  4. Ability to work under conditions of uncertainty and willingness to experiment in search of new business models;
  5. Ability and willingness to take fundamental decisions, radically changing the existing situation.

“Now we are going through perhaps the worst crisis in our professional life, – said Frank Kern, senior vice president of IBM Global Business Services, – and that the leaders put the ability to be creative in the first place is truly remarkable”.

Regional differences

Despite the apparent victory of creativity, ideas about what leadership qualities will be important in the next five years differ depending on the region, and sometimes very significantly.

Thus, 65% of executives in North America believe that the superior quality of a modern leader is decency, but in other regions, only 29-48% of respondents think the same.

China, for example, for the realization of the global ambitions needs a new generation of leaders with creativity, vision, and international experience. Realizing this, many Chinese leaders (61%) believe the quality of the main leader is global thinking. This is twice the results of Europe and North America.

However, despite all the differences of opinions, the majority of managers (88%) agree that the main feature of business strategies in the next five years needs to be focused on customer needs.

leadership qualities infographic