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Executive search trends: new leaders

New times demand new leadership profiles


Innovative mentality. Social responsibility. Empathy. Are these the most essential values for companies? In the eagerness to trace paths towards the evolution of people and organizations, there are many professionals who say yes, without hesitation. In fact, these are values with a great potential for transformation. But as maturity shows us (and recent history has taught us), certainties are fragile. Before following a trend x or y, it is better to contextualize, reflect and absorb, always with critical thinking, what will make a difference in your reality, in the reality of your team and your company.

Adriana Prates is CEO of Dasein and Diversity and Inclusion advisor of AESC.

With 27 years in the market and over 500,000 executive profiles analyzed, Dasein believes in the potential that resides in every context, in every organization, in every human being. For Adriana Prates, CEO and founder of Dasein, being aware of trends is important, but we shouldn’t limit ourselves to them. “Each being is unique and brings in its genesis a combination of competencies that can add a lot of value to the business, in many different periods. Or, on the opposite side, subtract value and expose the company with inadequate management.”

According to her, more than thinking about the “skills of the moment”, it is important to reflect about something that has a perennial value and never goes out of fashion: knowing how to manage one’s own emotions. The person who has control over their feelings will know how to pass this security to the team. They will also know how to lead people and companies in the worst of crises.

The role of assessment in self-knowledge

“Self-knowledge is the basis for the greatest source of human growth there is,” emphasizes Adriana Prates. And executive assessment fulfills this mission very well. She explains that, besides providing moments of pure reflection for the executive himself, it will contribute for certain competencies to be reinforced, others controlled, and others developed. “Evolution only occurs through the constant search for improvement, whether as people, parents, citizens, or professionals. No wonder those who seek personal growth end up having a more solid foundation to support others in their own journeys. ”

For the doctor in administration and Dasein associate mentor, Luiz Gonzaga Leal, assessment is essential for a better understanding of one’s own profile and the diverse profiles of others. It is also important to understand, accept and stimulate diversity, including in boards. “Emotional intelligence, so rightly trumpeted as fundamental in human relations, has as its pillar the knowledge and acceptance of oneself and of others. From a good knowledge it becomes easier to manage one’s own emotions and relationships. ”

Another role of the assessment, as Prates highlights, is to open the way for the company to build its career and succession map. “It is extremely motivating when professionals know that they will be able, within the company, to walk a path toward growth and more visibility.”

Science and sensibility in the search for better leadership

Through a combination of scientific methods and human sensitivity, Dasein conducts a process of research and development of executives for officer and CEO/CEO positions.  “This is one of our great specialties. Many times the company has not prepared for this moment of succession and it is up to us to meticulously search for a professional who will fulfill all the expectations created by the shareholders. We activate our Executive Search method and come back with a consistent list for the company to complete the required recruitment. ”

Daniel Rezende is the director of Dasein.

In other situations, the company has internal indications for this succession, whether it is a family organization or not, and it is up to Dasein to promote specific diagnoses and mentoring actions that contribute to the development of these professionals. “We have already done this type of consulting on several occasions, always with very positive results, either by bringing in new professionals when the company does not have them in-house, or even by preparing those who have potential, whether short, medium or long term. ”

An example that illustrates well the new leadership profiles (and the importance of science being allied to human sensibility) was Dasein’s conduction of a process that united the academic universe and the market.  “We assisted a chemical industry in the development of a professional who would assume the presidency of the company, knowing that his only previous experience was academic. Making this transition lasted almost three years and was extremely challenging, since the unwritten codes and rules of a large university differ greatly from the dynamics of a large company. In this case, the accomplishment of the mentor who leads these projects is as great as that of the professionals who have been mentored. Fulfilling our personal mission exquisitely is always something to be celebrated by us. And our activity allows us to transcend ourselves by leading others to actually be protagonists, achievers, conquerors, and happy. ”

At Dasein, there is an understanding that in a mentoring relationship, there always comes a time to pass the baton, to turn the tables. “Who is there is no longer a mentor and a mentee; but two people who admire each other, since both, for never being ready, had to overcome themselves in order for the transformation to happen,” highlights Prates.

What do companies demand from each leadership position?

Coordination, management, directors, boards. Far from being mathematical (as we pointed out above), the responsibilities of each position are closely linked to the culture of each company and its needs. But it is possible to cite the main demands of companies that are on the rise, while respecting the differences between the chairs and their responsibilities.

According to Adriana Prates, the differentiation between the levels lies in the increased complexity, ambiguity, volatility, and degree of uncertainty that these professionals will face in their working environment. “Board members, for example, need to have excellent analytical skills, political and diplomatic skills, and know how to provoke the other board members so that they can expand the varied worldviews that each one carries. ”

Luiz Gonzaga Leal also highlights that “the board, as the highest body, needs to have a systemic and strategic vision to understand the totality of consequences of each isolated decision, in the short, medium and long term. By being away from the operations, it needs to be able to challenge the leaders of the operations, take them out of their comfort zone, stimulate innovation and the search for what is “apparently impossible”.

As for the directors, Prates points out, they will need to be shrewd in making decisions that take into account the long term, bring immediate relief in the short term, and make those decisions prove to have been right even decades after the decision-making process.

Luiz Gonzaga Leal has a doctorate in business administration and is a Dasein associate mentor.

“Managers will need to be great experts and managers of people. With ample capacity to compose and develop high performance teams, promote engagement, align the team around the conciliation between corporate purpose and individual purpose, inspiring people to act with autonomy and freedom to make decisions. It is in this instance that the process of creating successors takes place in a more consistent manner. It is a manager’s duty to create the successors for the critical success positions in a company”.

“Coordinators need to be impeccable in ensuring that people and processes evolve at the same pace. It is the field of specialties where you need to sustain the results and operations and have enough energy to train the future leaders and ensure the quality of the final product. A leadership that encourages people to bring in their ideas and opinions to contribute effectively to team building and expanding awareness and technical repertoire.”

According to Luzete Campolina, an organizational psychologist and Dasein associate consultant, reflection and a re-signification of roles will be necessary at all levels, especially considering that both society and the labor market are constantly changing. “In this scenario, the problems take on a more complex facet and require more elements for their solution, which makes the role of leaders even more challenging in directing work teams. Previously outdated models were still tolerated in the organizational environment, which in face of the new context tends to no longer generate results and consequently be discarded. ”

Selection processes and the “cultural fit

The positive results generated by diversity in companies are undeniable, and most are at least trying to build a more diverse environment. However, due to the country’s historical problems, most of the professionals who apply for leadership positions have a similar profile (most of them belong to the middle or upper middle class, studied in private schools, etc.). The only way to change this reality and include the most diverse people possible is to rethink the selection processes.

According to Adriana Prates, who is also an AESC Diversity and Inclusion advisor, “some advances are occurring and are often criticized, as was the case of Magazine Luiza when it recruited trainees exclusively for black people. Despite the criticism, there was also a great appreciation for this initiative. Due to the immense social inequality in Brazil, this kind of attitude needs to occur more often and in even more diverse groups, since we know that it is necessary to combat the accumulated effects of discrimination that occurred in the past, throughout our history. ”

Luzete Campolina is an organizational psychologist and Dasein associate consultant.

According to Luzete Campolina, the unconscious biases at the moment of the selection process often prevent this change from being consolidated in the companies. For this reason, each step taken is extremely important for any advancement to occur. One of these steps indicated in 93% of the companies awarded as the Best Companies to Work For in Brazil in 2021 by GPTW is the presence of a person responsible for fighting discrimination and promoting diversity.

Another way is blind recruiting. According to Adriana Prates, this method analyzes only the competencies of the candidates in the first stages. Without exposing name, gender, age, location, educational institution where the candidate graduated, and the name of companies where he or she has previously worked. “That is a good way to combat unconscious biases. ”

For these changes in the selection processes to occur, it is fundamental that top management has the courage and competence to innovate. “Many times, when we are taking on new projects, the client always brings as an indispensable requirement in the profile the ‘cultural fit’. As we work in a consultative way, if the client wants to innovate, to look for people who add value and not just continue perpetuating what already exists, we advise them to renounce to the ‘cultural fit’ and bring to the team people that will bother them in the beginning. But this discomfort, if well conducted, helps the company to get out of inertia as far as the professional profile in force is concerned.”

What do leaders expect from their teams?

In the midst of the recent turbulence, a sort of “survival mode” was triggered among companies, and with this, the leaders were able to observe in their teams who were the potential rising stars. “Many leaders were able to give people who demonstrated the willingness and ability to take on new challenges a chance to rise and shine,” explains Dasein director Daniel Rezende. “Companies have been focusing on hiring professionals who can not only grow in their roles, but also take on other responsibilities and positions that involve greater complexity.”

“One of the characteristics that leaders value most in their teams today is the ability of the person to act independently, assuming self-management, the ability to assess risks and make decisions with autonomy. This involves other competencies such as technical consistency and power of analysis, as well as proactivity. These are important qualities that leaders possess, but that they also want to see demonstrated by their subordinates, because even under supervision, when they assume a posture characteristic of a professional in a management position, the person starts to be seen as a potential future leader in succession processes. ”

Another characteristic that calls attention is sociability, stresses Rezende. “It is a characteristic that reflects in the interaction between people making team actions effective, besides promoting a great work environment. These are people who, besides delivering results, are able to motivate teams, inspire people, keep up with the changes in the world, and relate well.”

As advice for young professionals, Daniel Rezende recommends that, first of all, they expand their technical knowledge and seek to have a clear vision about the reality of the area in which they work. “Understand deeply the reality of the profession they have chosen and always be aware of what’s new. It is good that they read a lot, observe the market, and study what the competition is doing not only in the local market, but on a global scale. Courses that involve subjects related to ethics, social responsibility and environmental commitment, as well as activities that promote social interaction are recommended for those who want to be a successful future leader.”




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