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Five Traits Executives Should Focus On In 2022 And Beyond

TH Herbert is the CEO of Semarchy, a data software company that enables organizations to leverage their data to create business value.

On the surface, being the leader of a company means being responsible for its overall financial stability and growth. This surface-level understanding leads to a common misconception—the only way to measure a CEO’s success is by analyzing the company’s financials. While financial success plays a vital role in the overall success of a company, many assume that this is the only data CEOs take into consideration during the decision-making process. It’s time to debunk that myth.

Truly successful executives—those who pride themselves on staff retention, workplace culture and morale among financial success—place real value on the growth and happiness of their employees. They understand that to keep their companies alive, CEOs need to focus on bettering the lives of their employees. This is most obviously done by providing employment and fair compensation; but in this time of talent shortages, CEOs can step up and ensure that they go beyond just signing a paycheck for their teams. I believe that creating a successful workplace culture means never taking the human connection for granted—and this applies to customers as well as staff.

There are many considerations for executives in 2022, but here are the top five traits I believe company leaders need to succeed.

1. Compassion

Compassion should always be a throughline in life and decision-making. As humans, we have the special ability to consider others’ situations and to show empathy during the highs and lows of life. In the context of business, executives need to show compassion for the people they work with.

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My experience in sales taught me a lot about the importance of compassion. There was a moment in my career when I was chatting with an executive of a large organization. He was expressing his concerns about a huge problem his company was facing. Rather than asking him questions solely based on financials, I offered to talk to him about his thoughts and feelings about the issue. He told me that I was the first guy to come in and show empathy for his situation.

Many CEOs expect their employees to serve them. This is a backward way of thinking. As the CEO, my job is to serve and empower my team so that they are supported and able to execute. The same applies to our customers: If we are not compassionate toward our clients’ problems, we cannot expect them to look to us for solutions or connect with our products.

2. Transparency

Transparency is key when dealing with both employees and customers. Executives need to be able to back up their products with a strong sense of honesty and ethics. Don’t sell your customers on a false reality of what your company can offer them. If you are not transparent about your solutions, the relationship will be built on dishonesty, and it will probably not last.

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For example, at my company, Semarchy, we think of ourselves as selling value rather than software. We sell by communicating openly and directly with prospective customers. We like to articulate why our digital transformation technology could work well for them and what our core values are before making the sale. We make a point not to exaggerate our sales pitch or sell to leads that aren’t a good fit.

Many companies think pulling the wool over customers’ eyes is a part of marketing and selling, but I’ve found the opposite is true if you intend to build a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship.

3. Open-mindedness

“Be open-minded” may sound like a meaningless platitude, but it’s crucial for executives to take the phrase to heart. Modern business leaders must commit to their company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. And these efforts must go beyond the hiring process.

Not only should CEOs push their recruiters to bring in a diverse range of candidates, but it’s also important to support new hires through open-minded policies. For example, give employees the ability to celebrate their individual religious beliefs and holidays. Ask yourself what it truly means to be inclusive and if changes need to be made. We decided to make this policy change, and our team is closer because of it.

Open-mindedness is often thought of only in terms of diverse cultural or religious beliefs and backgrounds, but diverse perspectives—often prompted by differing cultural experiences or beliefs—leads to new perspectives, ideas and, ultimately, more innovation. To truly innovate, we must be open and welcoming of new perspectives, and that starts with the CEO. If the CEO is not open to change, then the workplace culture will feel that opposition, inhibiting the teams’ creativity and openness.

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4. Analytical

Data-driven organizations need analytical leaders. This means that executives need to consistently ask themselves questions and return to their data for the answers. When reviewing a situation, analyze the possible impacts and risks of every outcome. As the CEO of a data software company, I always suggest to make use of strong metrics and data so you can continue expanding the company thoughtfully and with a data-backed strategy.

5. Resilience

Every executive needs to be resilient. Having the ability to bounce back from the everyday challenges faced by your business will allow for greater longevity.

More often than not, your role as an executive will force you to make difficult decisions in the most stressful of times. This is why it’s important to think of these challenges as opportunities. Being resilient means putting the negatives into perspective and embracing the ability to continue moving your company forward.

To me, an executive’s success is measured by these five fundamental traits. Use these traits to inform your priorities as a leader, and you’ll likely find yourself in the company of a dedicated team committed to your company’s success.

Forbes Business Council is the foremost growth and networking organization for business owners and leaders. Do I qualify?

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