Entrepreneurs seek inspiration and loyalty from their leadership team

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024

The top three traits that CEOs look for from their leadership team are inspirational (21%), loyalty (21%) and adaptability (20%), according to ECI Partners’ new Growth Characteristics report. Interestingly, the views of male and female CEOs and founders differed when it came to the key traits of their leadership team. A quarter of female CEOs (25%) said adaptability was the most sought-after characteristic, while male CEOs stated that the top trait was being inspirational (24%).

ECI, the growth-focused private equity firm, surveyed over 500 fast-growth SME business leaders as part of its annual Growth Characteristics report. The results highlight what CEOs consider to be the most important characteristics of their leadership team, as well asking them to prioritise current challenges, how important ESG is to their strategies, and what hires they are looking to make at Board level.

When it comes to motivating a leadership team, CEOs stated that open and honest communication (24%), having a strong social purpose (24%) and effective feedback and development goals (23%) are the most successful ways of driving engagement. The results contrast with last year’s report which highlighted the top trait that CEOs felt was most important for their own role, which was being realistic (25%).

Chris Watt, Managing Partner at ECI Partners said: “A fantastic team at the top is always critical to business success but is all the more important when navigating headwinds. What our Growth Characteristics research demonstrates is that despite the challenges they face, leaders are excited about the future and want an inspirational and loyal team around them to help them deliver on their ambitions.”

Graham Cooke, CEO at Zenergi said: “Business leaders look to their team for inspiration because that’s exactly what a team is. A Board must be able to collectively debate, challenge and inspire everyone in the pursuit of their goals. For me, it is not about my ego or me having all the answers. We all have to contribute to finding the right solutions that are the best for the business and inspire everyone to make tomorrow better than today.”

SME Publications/ SME XPO 2024