Early in the pandemic, Josh Bersin called it the Big Reset: “The Coronavirus is accelerating one of the biggest business transformations in decades.”
As the business landscape evolves and employees reassess their priorities, leadership is changing as well. To reset thinking on what it means to be a leader today, we asked other thought and business leaders for their perspective.
Courage – Great Leaders are bold and clear on their visions and they have the courage and verbal facility to consistently connect the “day to day” execution with the broader / longer-term vision to keep the organization highly motivated and moving forward.
Compassion – Your people need to know you care about them as a person, as a leader / member of their personal families, and as a major contributor to their professional family including their holistic health. Whether you as a senior leader are aware of the specifics or the situation of what a person is going through or not, you need to have the personal values and the presence of mind to quickly pick up on “clues” and adjust accordingly including putting the person “at ease” so he, she, or they can focus on their non-business priorities and then come back at the right time.
Competence – To paraphrase / quote Gordon Bethune, “you need to know how the watch works.” Whether it be your clients’ businesses, the financial markets, technology / geopolitical trends, or the intricacies of your own company, you need to know a lot about a a lot which requires a daily reading discipline well beyond the Wall Street Journal and paying attention in all your daily interactions.
Calmness – Senior leadership engagement / communication style and demeanor is paramount for driving the right corporate culture. Given the number and consistency of real and perceived “cross currents” that could potentially impact your business, you as a Great Leader need to have the presence of mind to process these factors swiftly, effectively, calmly, and collaboratively. If you are something other than a combination of calm and highly engaged, you risk making the wrong call in the moment or, worse, setting the wrong example for your directs and the broader organization in the process.
-Scott Mall, VP, IBM Consulting
An effective leader creates the conditions for its people to thrive by offering clarity on the ‘why’ and the ‘what’ and empowering them with autonomy to determine their own ‘how’ while remaining situationally fluent to support everyone on their unique development needs. Earns trust by demonstrating that he/she cares, creating psychological safety, and links both empowerment and trust to create accountability and loyalty. A remarkable leader integrates the need to deliver results while prioritizing the well-being of its people, not despite them.
-Pavel Ferreri, Senior Director Strategic Sales, Microsoft
A servant leader must learn and show empathy and compassion towards their teams, colleagues, and customers. This attribute is a learned trait through concentrated practice and application. We, as human beings, will never abandon our need and aspiration to follow those who show these critical human traits: in life, in family, and in business.
-Nathan Trail, Vice President of Strategic Sales NTT
If you’re inspired by these perspectives on leadership today, stay tuned…there’s more to come! And if you are interested in crafting your own contribution, please email me at email@example.com