Zoltán Pethõ was one of the key speakers at the recently launched onlyCEO Breakfasts in Budapest.

Members are given the opportunity to share an important moment or dilemma in their professional / managerial lives.

The first such conversation was undertaken by Zoltán who discussed why he decided to put himself forward for the international position of Chair of Friisberg earlier this year.

"It took immense courage actually to decide to run. I have been a member of Friisberg's Executive Committee for a number of years in an international Business Development role and so I understood how the different global markets operated, the way the local offices were run and of course I knew my colleagues well. Even so, to take on this role was a big decision. I knew it would take time, a great deal of personal commitment and of course I am still extremely busy in my own local market of Hungary!"

The Friisberg Partners overwhelmingly voted for Zoltán in July 1, 2021,

"It was a huge honour to be elected and I am committed to growing Friisberg, to strengthening our presence across international markets and to providing all our clients with unrivalled service."

We have all encountered  a similar situation that required us to step out of our normal world and to push our borders further. Zoltán's success is instructive for many of us.

The onlyCEO Club is a unique community of business leaders – a meeting place for key leaders from various industries.

All leadership deserves development

Having strong and quality leadership has proved to be a major asset in recent turbulent times. It is not a secret that companies who invest in leadership development perform better than those that do not and they are much more adaptable in periods of crisis.

Quality leadership is a combination of skills, traits, attitudes, and mindset - things not typically innate and therefore necessitating fine tuning.

One of the indicators of how valuable quality leadership is to an organization is the time the company invests in training and development for their leaders. The observations on the local market show that those companies who do invest usually dedicate between 12 and 30 minutes per month - in medium-sized businesses, and about 5 hours per month in larger organizations. The approaches vary from short online chunk sessions, through specialized development programs and individual coaching. The predominant focus is on first-line managers and aspiring leaders and much less on top executives.

Typically, outcomes are based on improved relationship between manager and direct reports. Much research though, indicates that more beneficial impact is on organizational outcomes. That’s why all leadership deserves to be developed. Every level of management in the organization needs to build, master, and nurture the relevant leadership skills in order to be prepared, resilient and alert.

A wide-ranging leadership and management development program includes offerings for all levels of leaders: new, middle, and senior.

Although focusing leadership development is always a good idea, there are some typical situations and stages in the life cycle of the company in which it becomes a must:

When a company cares about their leadership, it actually provides the opportunity for leaders to invest their time and energy back into the organization.

All too often we mistake confidence for competence.

Whether in business or politics, there’s a tendency to select leaders on the basis of their confidence rather than their competence. When our main criterion for appointing leaders is how good they think they are, we will inevitably end up with people who are not very good - except in their own mind.

When hiring for a leadership role you might be overlooking one of the most important traits:

 'Humbility' = Humility + Ability.

Perhaps humility isn't the first trait that comes to mind when you think about great business leaders. Instead you might think of someone who is a visionary, who is courageous - someone who is overtly charismatic.

Humble leaders tend to understand that they are not necessarily the smartest person in every room. Why? Because they don't need to be. Instead they actively encourage other voices, welcome challenge and run with the best ideas - regardless of whether they originate from a board member or from a junior.

When things go wrong, humble leaders admit their mistakes and take responsibility. When things go right, they shine the spotlight on others.

When leaders lack humility they often make avoidable mistakes, blaming others for their poor decisions, and overestimating their own talents to the point of losing touch with reality, preferring instead to surround themselves with ‘Yes People’.

In leadership, few traits are as indicative of incompetence as arrogance.

I have met all sorts of leaders some of whom are the loudest in the room while others are more introverted. Some really are creative geniuses while others are complete pragmatists.

But when it’s time to make a hiring decision, how do you assess Humbility?

We all tend to be impressed by charismatic people with powerful personalities and a commanding presence. My advice however is to always look a little closer.

Look for quiet confidence, a focus on others, ability and humility.

Humbility -that’s where great leadership begins.

Lorri Lowe
Partner UK

What will be important in 2022?

After a challenging but very successful 2021, we look forward to 2022 with confidence. Sure, the pandemic is not yet over, but we also see great opportunities. The transformation of the industry is in full swing:

Digitization has received a tailwind from the pandemic.

It holds enormous potential, for example, in trade, industry, administration, education and healthcare.

Decarbonization of the industrial sector.

This poses the question to everyone of how they can bring CO2-neutral products to market. One factor: system integration of hydrogen.

Demographic change has affected the entire economy.

The situation in the care sector is dramatic.  Solutions are needed from politics, business and education. Approaches could be: Use of robots, optimization of dual training, improved compatibility of family and career, and skilled labour immigration laws.

Decentralization or shortening of supply chains.

Increased sustainability and resilience of supply chains is a lesson from pandemic, along with travel restrictions and the blockade of the Suez Canal.

Overcoming these obstacles and seizing opportunities requires C-level digital expertise, but also decision-making power.

We select the executives for you who will also lead confidently in an environment characterised by many uncertainties.

The Budapest Business Journal confirms us as Number One.

For the second year in a row, our office in Budapest has once again been confirmed as the number one Executive Search firm in Hungary.

We are honoured to be recognized for making an impact that matters for clients and candidates.

Our commitment to responsible business leadership, diversity and a positive culture is only part of our success.

Árpád Németh, Managing Partner in Hungary, said, "We are absolutely delighted. This award is true recognition of the fantastic people we have working within our business. This recognition is testament to our continued hard work, dedication and real relationships we always build with our clients. We remain very appreciative to our client because with their continued support, commitment and votes, we are once again recognised as the number one firm in Hungary. Thank you so much.”.

Friisberg & Partners International realises that our people are our most valuable asset. We are proud to have such highly engaged teams who believe wholeheartedly in our vision – despite the incredibly challenging times we have all faced over the past two years.

Friisberg and Partners International has been voted one of the best Executive Recruitment Consultancies in Germany.

This is the result of the current study by WirtschaftsWoche - with around one million readers WirtschaftsWoche is the largest and most up-to-date business magazine for decision-makers in Germany.

We won this award covering two sectors:

Since the HR Consultancy ranking is based on customer reviews, we are all the more pleased about this award!

In the future, we will continue to do everything we can to select the right leaders who will make the difference in companies in these challenging times.

A big thank you to our clients for your trust and your votes!

Will 2022 end the pandemic?

The hope is that 2022 will end the nightmare of Covid and enable us all to re-start our social relationships that have been paused over the past two years.

We have all learned so much and we strive to move forward with a positive attitude.

There is no doubt that a lack of face to face contact has had an impact on our attitudes to work.

Major European leaders, with caution, are united that 2022 will prove to be the year of the end of pandemic for 4 reasons:

No one wants to halt the global economy again, so companies like Friisberg are working hard with business leaders around the world to re-configure their structure, create digital platforms, manage their HR structures and solve problems quickly and effectively - especially at the moment those linked to the re-opening of local economies and work places.

Since September 2021 we feel very positive that the global marketplace has 'woken up'.

We will continue to contribute, helping to build strong bridges within teams, building on new expectations and business needs around the world.

A genuinely new beginning is waiting for us all in 2022.

Aureliana De Sanctis
Associate Partner, Milan

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