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Must-Have Attributes of Successful Procurement Leaders

Must-Have Attributes of Successful Procurement Leaders

Procurement is a highly specialized field, so it logically follows that there’s a specialized set of skills and attributes which comprise successful procurement leaders.

Generic terms don’t adequately describe these attributes, so we’ve put together this list of must-have attributes of successful procurement leaders to clarify and inform.

Change agent

Strictly speaking, it’s not enough for a procurement leader to embrace change.  The job is one which is intended to drive change.  Ideas and innovation flow from an effective procurement leader which enhance procurement process efficiencies, amplify the role of strategic sourcing, shore up supplier sustainability and lead to effective procurement practices, overall.

Shifting procurement from a tactical function to a strategic function which is sited in the supply chain is no mean feat.  It demands a steady hand and a leader who’s able to remain calm and focused in the eye of the hurricane. Part of being an agent of change is having the ability to influence those in the top tier of the company’s hierarchy, as well as stakeholders with an interest in the procurement process.

True leadership

Leadership is no longer a matter of domination.  The true leader is focused on fostering collaboration and participation.  Millennials are poised to become a driving force in the workplace. And what we know about the Millennial approach is that it’s most at home in horizontal structures – not autocratic, top-down rule.

This approach relies on open lines of communication which run both ways.  

True leadership implicates people throughout the organization, getting them on board and honoring their contributions to arrive at a truly beneficial procurement process.

The listening ear

Listening leaders are the leaders who get things done.  Their ears are to the ground, listening to what internal stakeholders have to say.  There are ideas to be had and they’re often very good ones.

Leading from behind may sound counter-intuitive but it’s a leadership strategy which is gaining increasing currency.  Listening is at the heart of this, absorbing the information heard and giving everyone involved a voice and the dignity of input.

Procurement of specific expertise

Finally, it’s imperative that successful procurement leaders come to their roles with the procurement specific expertise that spells “credibility”.

Expertise in category management which delivers on the promises of strategic sourcing is key.  Results that speak for themselves ups the viability of candidates who come to you with this attribute.

Problem-solving and keen negotiation skills are obviously valuable attributes, but professionals with procurement-related technology experience come out at the top of the heap.

CenterPoint Group is a trusted procurement advisor.  Contact us.

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