24th Economic Forum (2014)

Leadership is acceptable through dialogue, convincing and persuasion, but hardly acceptable by imposing decisions regarded by the leader as the most important ones – said a former President of the Republic of Poland, Aleksander Kwasniewski, during the panel opening the Economic Forum in Krynica.

"By his attitude, professed values, consistency and also ethical attitude, the leader builds his credibility encouraging people to follow him and believe that he can be right in a risky situation" – said former president during the panel "Post-crisis world – time for new leaders". Hand in hand with representatives of the boards of directors of companies operating in Poland, Kwasniewski discussed about the roles and tasks for contemporary leaders.

Kwasniewski pointed to a limited trust enjoyed by the present-day leaders as a result of more informed and educated societies than ever in the past.

According to him, one of the most significant challenges of contemporary leadership are extremely rapid changes affecting the world. It is very difficult to forecast anything in such circumstances. Another challenge for today's leaders – according to Kwasniewski – is that information spreads instantly, reaching vast numbers of recipients, which on the one hand leads to avalanche of such information and on the other hand imposes a very short reaction time.

In turn, the CEO of Jeronimo Martins Poland, Pedro Pereira da Silva, stressed during the discussion that leadership was not impossible without building trust. "90 percent of products sold in our stores are produced in Poland in line with our decision – and it builds trust in fact. It may take even 10 years, but once trust is built, great achievements are possible, also referring to present-day leaders " – he added.

Meanwhile, President of Eastern European Operations at Google, Carlo d'Asaro Biondo, pointed to modern technologies helping in communication and bridging the gap between people. "In the same time, the leaders must learn to adapt to new, rapidly changing technologies " – he emphasized.

According to the President of PZU, Andrzej Klesyk, the division into political and economic leaders is no longer present today. "These two worlds are closely interconnected" – he said. He added that predictability is a desirable feature of the leader, "in order to know what he is going to do ".

"The institutions – the leaders, must base predictability on values, as the principles they follow" – said Klesyk.

Stressing in his speech that the leader must be future-oriented to stay in business, the President of RWE Poland, Filip Thon said "it is necessary to bridge all the gaps and overcome all obstacles searching for new solutions, otherwise someone else would take the lead".