21st Century Leadership: Which leaders will survive this crisis and rise after?

“Leadership” is everywhere. “Leadership” is extremely topical. Always.

When we’re doing well, leadership is what we look at. Who got us here and how?

When we’re in turmoil, leadership is what we look at. Who got us here and how?

Oftentimes on social media and business media in general, leadership is a filler content: “leadership tips”, “leadership styles”, “top leaders did this”.

We’re in a time of turmoil now and the magnifying glass is on leadership again but in a different way. The Pandemic pause is perceived as an external factor but in fact it is forcing all of us to look inside, to experience within what no longer works. Leadership is not exempt from this analysis. It is actually even more timely and consequential to look at how our leadership holds up when our systems are shaken to their core and we are reduced to what truly matters.

 

Highly effective, empathetic.
Hand in hand.

 

With something as external, unpredictable (to an extent), and omnipresent as this tiny virus, our capacity to perform seems reduced within society and the business world. Who is surviving? Who is capturing the trust and loyalty of their teams? Who is slipping and losing the trust and respect of their employees and customers?

We’ve seen exceptional examples of both in just a few short weeks. Both will remain etched in the minds of employees and set as blueprints for what to do and what not to do moving forward.

 

An example of outdated, ineffective leadership:

Richard Branson forced thousands of employees to take an 8 week unpaid leave despite the price of paying way for those employees costing $6.4 million of his $3.8B net worth. Parliament in the UK pointed out that Branson likely makes more interest in the same time frame as it would cost to save employees income.

 

Example of what we’ll start calling 21st century leadership:

Shake Shack giving back $10M in small business loans they admittedly didn’t need.
Jack Dorsey using ⅓ of his $3B net worth to help employees and first responders.
Zoom’s CEO chose to say he personally “really messed up” in reference to security concerns. No shifting blame. Just a human and transparent response and accountability to do better.

 

Who is likely to gain and retain their employees’ respect and loyalty through this crisis and beyond? Can Virgin expect employee trust again?

The answer is clear.

 

The focus for 21st century leaders is aiming at a higher level. It is human centric first, outcome driven second.

 

The most profound difference that separates these 21st century leaders is not achievement or financial gain, though that will likely be a long term benefit; it is heart centered, emotional. By aligning their action, language, vulnerability, and empathy, they deeply influence and captivate their public, their employees, and generate a meaningful impact. A human moment becomes the differentiating factor for the company, and for the leader.

 

Uplifting, human moments are contagious:

These moments aren’t just good PR for these CEOs. These are catalysts. They spark something in the rest of their organizations that will have a lasting, uplifting impact on employees and how they approach work. When employees have these moments of truth, hope, empathy, and trust with leaders, it inspires a re-commitment. Employees want to work, prioritize and contribute for an organization that exemplifies strong personal, human values. When employees feel they are on solid ground with their leadership who supports them to thrive…they engage, they commit and they deliver. A human centric system makes people thrive first. When people thrive, companies grow. The reverse is a short term gain.

 

A overpowering focus on the bottomline is an unstable foundation. Look at who is coming crashing down:

A bottomline can never be a company, people always make up a company. This virus exposes who lives by that and who does not. Even with all the data in the world, intuition and emotion will always guide our actions and our commitments, regardless of what patriarchy is willing to admit. It’s mind-boggling how, even with the data to supports this concept, it is still largely missing in our leadership. Somehow we understand how emotions drive markets, fear and scarcity driven opportunity, but we ignore how uplifting emotions drive our teams.

For every employee that leaves, it costs companies on average 33% of their salary to replace them.
A disengaged employee costs an organization approximately $3,400 for every $10,000 in annual salary. Please do the math!

 

Emotions, empathy, and human connection are economics.
Business is a spiritual game.

 

How can leaders make empathy an action?

The short answer: it takes practice. It takes internal awareness. Practicing this value starts within by being empathetic to ourSelf. It is the ability to relate to others’ emotions, positive or negative.

The longer answer: we have to reframe our perspective. Historically and ontologically, doing and achieving belong to a masculine essence, hence why we have been calling this society patriarchy. Masculine style leadership focussing on results, data, financial improvement, and achievement is fantastic and it requires context as well as a merging with a human emotional process. Feminine leadership skills are rooted in the process with which the outcome is achieved: inclusive, transparent, collaborative, communicative, innovative. A much awaited “add on” of Women’s rise.

 

Integrated Leadership merges equally human fulfillment with outcome based achievement to generate a sustainable, uplifting and meaningful impact.

 

First things first:

Leaders need to start taking an honest look within at the outcomes missing in their lives and career. Where are you not generating results? From those areas, look at what it is within you that you are missing to create those outcomes on the outside. For instance, if you have a retention issue in your company, then what is it in your way of Being that is missing? Are you not leading your team with rapport and togetherness? Are you not listening to their challenges? Are you perceived aloof, distant, authoritative? You can’t fake caring, humility, and presence because it is felt by “other” first and foremost. Start rediscovering it and bringing it to the forefront of your thoughts, actions, and decisions. It takes consistent personal inner practice in order to generate it on the outside, hence for “other” to perceive it and experience it.
Emotional and relational intelligence coaching is at the forefront of 21st century High Performance Leadership because it creates lasting and uplifting effects on people who are the core of your company’s growth & success.

Learn more about integrative high performance coaching for leaders.



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