During a time of crisis what are the leadership traits of regulatory leaders that can deliver the greater results?
Alex says: A few years ago, we worked with one of our psychologists to draw together the anonymised data from all of the assessments he had carried out on candidates for senior regulatory roles, using that as the basis for some generalised observations of leadership traits among that group. With regulators under intense pressure to adapt to new working practices, radically transformed markets and immediate political demands, we were curious whether those findings held anything useful in the context of the current crisis.
It wasn’t any surprise to be reminded that regulatory leaders’ strong analytical and conceptual skills are useful in getting to grips with the key issues in a complex situation. They are, for the most part, calm under pressure, straightforward and open with their teams, all of which is only more important in a remote-working environment. At the same time, traits that are often very positive – including a relatively low ego-need and a common lack of desire for personal profile – can significantly lower the visibility of leaders, at precisely the times of stress and change when their teams and wider stakeholders need that the most.
Making the most of our strengths and finding ways to balance our weaknesses are things we all have to work at throughout our careers. The COVID-19 crisis is a huge challenge in so very many ways, but it is also a huge opportunity for individuals and collective leadership teams to reflect and adapt in a way that will reap benefits both in the immediate, and in the longer term.
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