Google Memo Has Boards Talking About Executive Succession
The Agenda article, “Google Memo Has Boards Talking About Executive Succession,” quoted Russell Reynolds Associates Consultant Jenna Fisher and cited research from “Our Future Leaders.” The article is excerpted below.
Board directors, talent experts and academics concur to varying degrees that men and women in corporate life show different traits and strengths, and even hold different expectations. The age-old question is whether those are entirely due to nature or nurture.
For instance, according to a survey by search firm Russell Reynolds, female and male executives differ on which skills they say are most important to succeed in the future workplace. Female leaders are more likely to view technical skills as critical to success, as compared to male executives’ response that soft skills are primary.
The report found that 28% of female leaders considered technical skills critical to success. Those included analyzing quantitative data, being proficient with state-of-the-art technology and developing technical knowledge. Only 17% of male executives, however, shared that belief.
Ironically, men in the survey touted soft skills as the likeliest to lead to future success, even though women generally get credited with using those more in the workplace. Male leaders claimed creativity (17%), communication (15%) and influencing others (13%) were most vital for success.
“A lot of women focus on technical acumen and then hope that leads to promotion,” says Jenna Fisher, a partner at Russell Reynolds and the global leader for its corporate officers practice. “But the things that lead to being in the top decile of performers and leaders [are] how can you be visionary and bring along the next generation of talent. You also need to be vulnerable as a leader. Those win the hearts and minds of people more.”
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