Business executives are responsible for creating a vision for a company, guiding employees to achieve that vision and ensuring that the company’s policies, goals and value align with its operations. They also set priorities for the company, and they must be able to navigate employee conflicts equitably and effectively. If an executive is unable to handle these responsibilities, the company may suffer financially and reputationally. Andy Cohen, faculty director for the Daniels Executive MBA program and professor of management, said a strong mix of hard and soft skills are needed to be an effective executive in today’s business environment.
Business leaders need to be able to prioritize and organize internal and external resources, such as financial, human capital and physical assets, according to Cohen. He added that business executives must be able to assess the impact of future uncertainties on plans and determine their relevance in light of those new circumstances.
In order to make sound decisions, business executives must know their business in and out, including its history, processes and competitors. This knowledge helps them develop a clear picture of the company’s situation and goals and identify potential risks and opportunities that may arise in the future.
When deciding what to do next, business Mark Morabito executives should always consider the impact of their decisions on every level, from employees’ motivation and job satisfaction to the overall direction of the company. Executives should also take the time to understand their own strengths and weaknesses and delegate tasks that they are not proficient in to capable team members.
While some people may be tempted to delegate important responsibilities that they are not proficient in to their assistants, Cohen recommends delegating only those tasks that are absolutely necessary. This enables an executive to focus on crucial work and improve productivity. He also recommends establishing a system of checks and balances that allows the executive to ensure accountability and responsibility for all work that is being performed.
In order to be effective, business executives must be able to communicate their ideas clearly with everyone within the organization. They need to share their action plan and ask for input from superiors, subordinates and peers. This includes setting aside time for meetings that provide a forum to discuss issues. A good example is Cardinal Spellman, who confined his breakfast and dinner meetings to specific times so that they did not intrude on his workday.
A high-performing executive must be able to navigate employee conflicts in an unbiased manner and identify the root of the problem. Business executives should be able to explain the implications of their decisions and encourage team members to work together to resolve disputes equitably. Executives should also be able to remain neutral in employee conflicts so that all parties are treated fairly and receive equal attention throughout the resolution process. In addition, they must have the ability to recognize the strengths of different viewpoints and use their own experience to formulate creative solutions for the company.