Does your #2 leader have what it takes for the highest position?

March 14, 2022 – When clients lack internal headcount and succession planning doesn’t work, they turn to executive search firms to recruit the organization’s next leader. Whether it’s a CEO, executive director, or president position, organizations tend to be favorably disposed toward incumbent CEOs, those who are currently the No. 1 leaders. To be a safe and traditional strategy for attracting and recruiting their next leader, we strongly advise and believe that our clients are best served by engaging and giving serious consideration to ‘Strong #2 Leaders,'” said BroadView Talent Partnersin a new report.

A strong #2 – whether COO, CFO or another dynamic direct report to a #1 – can potentially be your next great leader. “No. 2 leaders who truly aspire to be CEOs, and who possess the courage, determination and drive along with a demonstrated track record of leadership and positive business results should also be on the radar screen,” said “Often these hidden gems find themselves isolated or stuck in organizations with pseudo-succession plans, struggling with long-time leaders. Nonetheless, the #2 leaders who really have the chops to be CEO don’t will not rest and truly be at peace until they have their first chance to achieve their highest career purpose and aspiration.

No one is born CEO. Every experienced GM has had to take on the job for the first time at some point. They served with distinction in positions of increasing responsibility, achieved consistent operational results, demonstrated high EQ and excelled in the leadership, management and relationship culture aspects of the role. “These rising stars have managed their careers strategically, developed strong followings, and influenced key decision makers and power brokers in their rise,” the BroadView report states.

Not every No. 2 is supposed to be a No. 1. “As you informally assess, evaluate and refer potential candidates, boards and their search partners need to ensure that these prospects have the required aptitude and attitude, the passion for lifelong learning and personal growth. , and a healthy dose of determination and conviction,” the recruiting firm said.

The qualities they need

These prospects cannot live or pursue someone else’s projected dream or goal for them; it has to be something they viscerally want and really believe they can do. Often, #2 leaders feel external pressure or expectations to become #1, when in fact, it may not be inherently within them to take on a CEO position. “This is not the candidate profile we want our clients to hire,” the recruiting firm said. “We need to catch the right person at the right time in their life and career who is ready, willing and able to meet the challenges ahead.”

A credible No. 2 must have superior business acumen, high emotional intelligence and superior communication (both oral and written), as well as presentation, interpersonal and relationship management skills and great instincts, said the recruiting firm. These people must be creative and innovative, strategic and visionary and have excellent negotiation, influence and persuasion skills.


Three key takeaways from the COVID-19 crisis

From cultivating and managing talent to health and wellness, the pandemic has brought to light several valuable lessons for leaders of organizations to follow in the future. “With many organizations maintaining a fully remote environment and others adopting a hybrid approach, the playing field of the employer as we knew it has changed,” said a new report from BroadView Talent Partners. “By letting go of old-school beliefs and embracing transformation, the wise leader can enjoy increased productivity while creating a healthier work environment with happier employees.” The Fairfield, Conn.-based executive search firm cites three lessons from COVID-19 that all business leaders should embrace: support a healthy work-life balance, be intentional about protecting your stars, and reinforce the importance of health and well-being.


Finally, an ideal #2 can make tough, sometimes unpopular decisions, is in times of crisis, has an acute DEI and belonging lens, and takes pride in serving as a “jealous guardian” of a positive organizational culture. “Whether they currently hold CFO, COO, General Counsel or other leadership positions, in addition to the qualities and characteristics listed above, these particular #2 Leaders have also a compelling charisma and magnetism,” said BroadView Talent. The partners.

Waiting to shine

“As a recruitment company, we take very seriously people who are up and coming and who are determined to achieve their highest career goal and aspirations as a leader. Often, all it takes is that first opportunity, and they walk away,” the report said. “A #2 may be a stronger choice than a pre-existing or ‘recycled’ CEO, who is closer to retirement or does not bring the same level of energy, vision and creativity to meet challenges. At the end of the day, you don’t want a CEO who just “steps in”—rather, you want a CEO with a fresh perspective, a clear vision, and impeccable integrity.

Remember that the role of CEO is not for everyone. “About less than three in 10 leaders are truly equipped to take on a #1 role, regardless of their aspirations,” the firm said. “However, many #2 leaders are waiting in the wings, eager for an opportunity to shine. Your goal is to find the next leader who can demonstrate they have the knowledge, skills, abilities and background. necessary to be an exceptional leader.

Founded in 2015, BroadView Talent Partners is a national executive search firm dedicated to placing leadership in affordable housing agencies, nonprofits and associations, and middle market businesses. The firm offers its clients a national network, a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, and a long-term investment record. His specialties include executive search, talent acquisition, retention solutions, career management, executive coaching and board development.

Related: CEO Leadership During COVID-19

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor; Dale M. Zupsansky, editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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