What Leader Do you Want to Be in 2021?

This week we discuss the execution data we have seen while working with clients during the pandemic. We are taking a look at leadership, and how executives can extend the positive attributes of their crisis management into the post-pandemic phase in 2021.

Good Crisis Leadership

After nearly a year of operating in a crisis environment, we know what the attributes of good crisis leadership are: resilience to absorb unforeseen shocks, adaptability to pivot based on new circumstances, and ability to predict future scenarios.

Who is wired for Crisis Leadership?

Based on thousands of behavioral data from the Predictive Index platform, we know that many CxO tend to be what we categorize as “Exploring” types: leaders with a high-risk tolerance, self-confidence and autonomy to make decisions, and a positive and enthusiastic that contributes to maintaining an action-oriented culture. In the early stages of the pandemic, these behavioral attributes allowed them to step up.

Leadership Execution Post-Pandemic

We know from our work advising clients on execution that leadership is one of 5 key execution success factors, or KSE. We use Line-of-SightSM, an execution optimization solution, to objectively measure organizations’ execution capabilities, or “execution health”; this allows our clients to score each KSE (on a scale from 0 to 100) and identify any execution vulnerability.

We looked back at the scores of clients we benchmarked during the pandemic. In normal times, an initial execution health assessment will yield a score in the mid-40s.

Remarkably though, our “pandemic cohort” clients showed much higher leadership scores from the outset, reaching into the mid-70s. The highest score was a stunning 81% – a score we would normally see after intensive leadership coaching.

Is your Crisis leadership sustainable?

Our data therefore confirms that leadership teams, based on our Line-of-SightSM client sample, have significantly stepped up during the pandemic. This is great news for execution.

However, as we move into a post-pandemic phase, the question is: how long can leaders sustain the high-adrenalin pace of crisis leadership? Without a high degree of self-awareness, leaders are bound to run out of energy and focus.

As early as April 2020, McKinsey saw an opening for a new type of leadership for the future, retaining the “muscle memory” of crisis management’s positive attributes.

We also encourage our clients to seize the opportunity to up their leadership in the post pandemic: clarify their strategic intent, communicate it broadly, simplify their dashboard, and care for their talent.

How do you expect your own leadership to evolve in the post-pandemic?   

To learn more about enhancing your own execution, please reach and we will initiate an assessment of your execution capabilities.