New research identifies six critical competencies for general counsel

Laurence Simons surveyed general counsel in the UK, Europe and US

New research identifies six critical competencies for general counsel

General counsel should possess six key competencies according to new research. A white paper by executive consultancy Laurence Simons, found the following competencies to be most important:

  • Adapting to change: Possessing a flexible approach and a willingness to evolve in changing work environments.
  • Conceptualising strategies: Having a broad vision aligned to a keen strategic mind. Being able to detect patterns and shifts in the market, as well as having the capability to plan towards accomplishing long-term goals.
  • Working under pressure: Being resolute and tenacious when faced with challenges to keep objectives on track.
  • Providing direction: Being drawn to positions of authority, including delegating and coordinating work to achieve results.
  • Coaching & developing others: Empowering and encouraging others to develop by motivating and mentoring them.
  • Being interpersonally astute: Showing an understanding of others, building rapport, and managing emotions effectively.

“This report has been created to examine the competencies perceived by GCs to be most critical for success,” said Angela Floydd, Laurence Simons’ chief commercial officer behind the research. “We also identify which of these qualities are innate in most GCs, and those likely to require more effort. The results reflect the versality of the GC profile and close alignment between the skills GCs perceive to be critical qualities for the role and their natural behaviours.

“From these results, and our first-hand experience of working with GCs, we can see the significant potential for GCs to help transform companies and their pivotal role in creating a high functioning executive team,” she added.

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The research involved the participation of 149 general counsel from the UK, Europe and US.

It revealed that there were three competencies where GCs showed the highest potential, which was not identified as most critical to their role by GCs themselves, but nonetheless reflected key strengths that they are likely to bring to the role.

They are:

  • Agile learning - Applying an exploratory and curious approach, underpinned by a willingness to experiment, take risks and try unconventional methods.
  • Fostering creativity - Being imaginative, exploring new ideas, coming up with new ways of solving a problem and driving innovation.
  • Purposeful argumentation - Being persuasive and convincing by projecting confidence when speaking out and being comfortable challenging others.

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