Shifting Leadership for 2020 and Beyond

The softer sides of being human are making leaders superhuman…let me explain. I’ve been working with companies and leaders for over 20 years in my career and have seen a big shift in recent years. The leaders that stand out are the ones who truly care about their people. They have a high level of EQ and are able to inspire others with their strong communications skills. They have an innate ability to connect by being authentic and they want to see their people succeed, knowing that if they do, their company will as well.

There is a lot of pressure for CEOs to perform, especially financially and particularly in publicly traded companies. I’ve heard for decades just how frustrating being a CEO can be due to the short term thinking of the financial system and markets. What we are starting to see is that being in business solely for stockholder value is not sustainable. For example, a company can make “sound” business decisions based on the economics but then wreak havoc on the environment (think water, palm oil, plastics to name just a few). Consumers will no longer tolerate this and are changing behaviors. They want to support ethical companies. In this day and age of transparency through social media, what a company truly stands for will be revealed one way or another.

The nature of the financial system is being questioned regularly and the thinking of leaders is visibly shifting. We saw 180 CEOs who signed a statement of prioritizing people over profits in August 2019. It seems leaders are taking to heart now the triple bottom line of people, planet and profits.

There is also a wave emerging from the younger generations coming into the workplace are forcing change because they want to find companies that are purpose driven and making a positive impact. Yes, you can find people who may come across as “entitled”, but the reality is that this group of humanity wants a good place to live and are inheriting a pretty big mess truth be told. And in 2020, Gen Z will be 24% of the workforce. They also want companies willing to invest in their development and growth. These signs are not something to be ignored!

It is refreshing to see leaders who are embracing to work actively with their culture and are striving to create workplaces that people are excited to get up to go to work in the mornings. Many are seeing the value of developing their people and we’ve even seen companies bringing on a team of in-house coaches to support their managers. I’ve had a chance to interview several of these progressive CEOs on The Amazing Leader Series. I think we’ll see more and more of this with time.

When you can support and develop your employees and your managers to reach their full potential, you will naturally increase engagement, loyalty, and results. It takes high-level understanding from top management to set aside resources, knowing that the investment in their people will pay off long term. Plus the younger generations are looking for companies that will help them grow and develop both personally and professionally.

Leaders are tuning into their emotional intelligence with increased compassion, caring, and wanting to build a sustainable business that is making a positive impact in the world. This is good because that is what the workforce and customers want to see. They want companies and leaders that are authentic and that they can believe in. And it’s going to be good for the stockholders and bottom line as well! So in the end, everyone wins!

If you want support in going through a cultural transformation, reach out to us at We’ve been working with this for years and can help on this journey!

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