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C-Suite Skills That Matter Most

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

October 19, 2022

Ford Mosby provides insights into the skills that he sees most often missing from C-Suite executives and the impact on their organizations.

The Importance of Social Skills

Harvard Business Review recently published an article titled “The C-Suite Skills That Matter

Most”, authored by Raffaella Sadun, Joseph Fuller, Stephen Hansen, and PJ Neal.

The authors discuss the changes that have occurred in the past two decades in our business environment and how those changes have necessitated a change in the skills that matter most in the C-suite.

Formerly, they point out, key executives were hired based on administrative skills, product

knowledge, and success in managing financial resources. Today, more, and different, skills are needed.

"But when companies today search for top leaders, especially new CEOs, they attribute less importance to those capabilities (technical knowledge, administrative skills, etc.) than they used to and instead prioritize one qualification above all others: strong social skills."

The authors, using data from the search firm Russell Reynolds Associates, point out that,

since 2007, of 5000 job descriptions for C-suite positions, there has been an increase in excess of 25% for job descriptions mentioning social skills and an almost 40% decrease in those emphasizing financial management and material resource skills.

These social skills include “self-awareness, the ability to listen and communicate well, a facility for working with different types of people and groups, and what psychologists call ‘theory of mind’ – the capacity to infer how others are thinking and feeling.”

In other words, leaders need emotional intelligence. They need to possess knowledge of their own emotions, how those emotions arise, and the patterns of behavior that follow from the experience of those emotions.

In this age of ever-increasing use of technology, why are social skills and human interaction

being seen as even more important than just a few years ago? There are at least a couple of

reasons. The first is simply that very few industries, if any, have been completely automated.

The Impact of Automation

While computers, robots, online storage of files, software, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) have

certainly proliferated at an astounding rate, there are still salespeople and client support who need to be encouraged and motivated, programmers and logistics personnel, managers and operations staff who want and need empathy and encouragement.

There are still people operating machines and computers that have become more prevalent.

The Impact of Emotional Intelligence

The second reason is the ever-increasing awareness we now have of the important impact of emotional intelligence.

Recent studies have shown that emotional intelligence has an impact of 66% on the factors that contribute to success and leadership – trust, motivation, change, teamwork, and execution.

In our agency, our C-suite executives have been the first to explore their own emotional

intelligence and have encouraged our producers, as well as others, to avail themselves of this resource.

As a result, we can document a direct relationship between success and emotional


Emotional intelligence is a tool and it is learnable. But it is not something to be

learned in a vacuum.

It has to be used and applied in everyone’s particular circumstances to be effective.


Ford Mosby

Vice President, Emotional Intelligence Specialist, Bond Manager


Ford Mosby is Vice President and Bond Manager at Ross & Yerger. Mosby specializes in Bonds and Construction.


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