Karunakaran Gurunathan on leadership hiring during uncertain times

In an exclusive interaction with SCIKEY, Mr Karunakaran Gurunathan, who with over two decades of headhunting and placing c – suite talent speaks about the key leadership qualities one would look in potential leaders while hiring and the leadership trends he foresees due to the rapid chan

With over two decades of experience in executive hiring, Karunakaran, what according to you are the crucial skills you look for in prospective leaders why it matters most to you?

CEOs today face unprecedented challenges. Fierce competition, volatile market, regulatory requirements changes, data privacy, security, talent management, social media apart from other traditional challenges. The key to maneuvering these challenges successfully is to put together a great team which instinctively explores creative solutions that impact the organisation as a whole. One need to look some qualities in potential leaders are, fearless decision making by conquering uncertainties and identifying reasonable precautions; constant desire for feedback and how one reacts and appreciates it; ability to lead and develop talent; how high is one on cognitive flexibility – defining problems on hand and generating right solutions. Finally culture and values – one must exhibit how they shape and build a culture that unites employees and thereby generate values.


What are the top leadership hiring trends you foresee considering rapid changes in businesses which have further multiplied by COVID crisis?

There are a few trends I see emerging for businesses. First and foremost, companies would lookout for candidates internally, whom they have groomed over the years, to take on leadership roles. Secondly, work from home is becoming the norm, with companies vying to give a great employee experience to remote workers by upgrading their technology infrastructure. The next trend is that the current world order will view ‘Diversity Inclusion’ with a completely different lens that is more embracing and least resistance.


Another important trend is that companies will restructure compensation packages to increase the variable component to link it to individual and company performance, particularly senior management.


What are some lessons learned amid the pandemic that you will take ahead with you?

This pandemic has given invaluable lessons to leaders all across.


With limited information and data, tough decisions need to be taken swiftly and work through them. For those of us who are used to in person meetings and drills, the current scenario is mind-altering. One has to get used to virtually protecting values, rights and dignity of everyone around you. There has to be a sense of purpose to hold teams/employees together. Lastly, the pandemic saw the emergence of another important factor, the adversity quotient. The ability to handle a crisis, a catastrophe with dexterity. Leaders need to adapt to drastic changes very quickly with high endurance levels. It’s important to remain optimistic and stay positive.


You may also read: Top 25 Leadership Qualities for 2021 


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