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As we exit the “20-teens,” industries of all stripes require a markedly different kind of leadership. Out of the ashes of 2020, we are beginning to see a new, emerging breed of leaders who exhibit the kind of authentic leadership that reinvigorates, heals and provides purpose.
We want — and need — leaders who promote a culture of safety, inclusion and diversity. Doing so engenders a more committed and energized workforce, which is beneficial to all.
With great speed and agility, extraordinary leaders and their teams are changing the face of our workplaces, and with it, they are also helping shape society at large. These leaders are creating sustainable business performance and taking care of people and the planet. They need to be recognized and rewarded, and additional opportunity to focus on their leadership development is a reward that benefits everyone.
How can boards guide current leaders and their teams on the transformational path to exceptional leadership? The first step is selecting promising leaders who embody these practices and can model desired behaviors. Equally important is making the investment in existing leadership teams through constructive assessment, development, coaching and mentorship, and rewarding those good actions.
Currently, management teams are focused on overseeing another year of great transition. Considerable time is being dedicated to actions that yield healing and transformation. By necessity, they are transitioning a fragile and uncertain workforce to a new and better place. They are wrestling with a global pandemic, economic crisis, social injustice and environmental climate shift in addition to running a viable enterprise.
Effective boards can help their management teams prepare for this leadership journey by providing clear support and distinct actions. Such efforts will be rewarded with an innovative, creative workplace that embodies renewed purpose, hope and confidence. All of that adds up to greater individual health and well-being, along with organizational sustainability.
It is still premature to know just how profoundly the past year has changed our world; the effects of 2020 may be felt for generations to come. However, reflecting on the work I’ve done to help organizations align their business strategy with compensation and build great management teams, several lessons have been learned. Such learnings can help inform your outlook for 2021.
All organizations have individual, unique problems, but boards overall are at a crossroad — they need to step up and become more involved and more courageous in solving them. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are a compelling force that cannot be ignored and organizational health is not a “nice to have” or a beneficial accident. From top to bottom, individually and collectively, a company’s workforce can be the ultimate competitive advantage.
The boards that help their organizations achieve a strong, positive and flexible culture focused on learning and leadership at all levels will ultimately be the ones driving sustainable long-term performance.
About the Author
Celeste Coruzzi is a managing director and practice leader at Pearl Meyer.