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The tools to develop the next generation of leaders

Staff developmentTalent and Leadership

In this guest post, Procurement Leaders invites Xchanging’s Paul Johnson to look at what tomorrow’s procurement chiefs will need, different from their predecessor.


For many years we have seen leaders as head honchos, ultimate decision-makers and change masters who drive hard management styles. We view them as people who take individualistic approaches to plot the direction and destiny of their organisations through a sea of acquisitions, mergers, investments, divestments, growth plans and cutbacks.


But current leaders are operating in one of the most difficult environments in modern business history.


Business leaders are balancing short-term survival techniques with long-term sustainable strategies. They are under great scrutiny from the investor markets with a more savvy and information-hungry public seizing every opportunity to pounce on the latest fat-cat bonus.


Life is tough at the top but, thinking about procurement specifically, what might our next generation of leaders need to do more of or do differently?


Here I have highlighted three attributes that I think will be crucial:


A decisive collaborator - Not a contradiction but a combination of skills that fosters the right boardroom behaviour. The ability to listen to peers in order to challenge, tweak and strengthen your own clear perspective will be more important. Then, having the courage to act decisively.


Social, cultural and ethical ambassador - As the world of business changes there is a greater need to increase awareness on the impact of business in society. The leaders of tomorrow will need to accelerate the eradication of ‘greenwashing’ and drive to a more transparent connection between the business and the society in which it operates.


The key to employee retention - Employees more than ever look to the values of their organisation to determine whether they stay or move on. Leadership will become more about guiding culture, vision and identity, and connecting with the people in the organisation, so the workforce unites in the leader’s vision and strategy.


Paul Johnson is account director at Xchanging. He has a regular column in Procurement Leaders Magazine.

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