Updated: Mar 18
Before we jump into what great leadership consists of I think it’s important to define what a leader looks like. According to Gary Vaynerchuk, CEO of VaynerMedia, “A leader, especially in a post-Covid world, is someone who has a clear vision and is able to rally her or his community to achieve that goal. The greatest job of a leader, whether that leader is a parent, a CEO, or a counselor–is to find a way to build self-esteem without crossing into delusion. That means, in a business setting, it’s important to remember that you work for your employees, they don’t work for you. Your job is to build your team, provide value, and give them space to grow while holding them accountable.” I think Gary Vaynerchuk is spot on with his definition of what a leader is and is going to be in a post pandemic world.
All successful leaders have certain qualities that are unique to themselves that can either be good or bad for business, but are there certain characteristics that all successful leaders share? I would argue yes. So, what do I mean when I say that leaders have certain qualities that are unique to themselves? Let’s take Steve Jobs as an example. Steve Jobs possessed a lot of characteristics that other successful leaders share, such as vision, but his attitude toward his employees has been widely recognized as terrible. So which characteristics do today’s great leaders possess?
Vision might be the most important characteristic of successful post pandemic leader because the environments in which we work in are changing at a staggering pace, and the ability to recognize these changes and make quick decisions was, is, and will be imperative. According to Michael Hyatt, Founder and Chairman of Michael Hyatt & Company, “Leaders need wisdom and discernment for the present. They need to be able to look at complex situations, gain clarity, and determine a course of action."
For example, businesses that recognized a year or two ago that the working environment was shifting to a more remote based environment and invested in cloud ERP software such as Dynamics 365 Business Central were better equipped to handle the pandemic. Other businesses that didn’t act quickly on this shifting environment were then forced to transition to remote work far before they were ready or willing and sadly this misstep caused some businesses to fail.
2. The Realization that it’s a Team Game
As a leader, you work for a team and successful leaders set great examples. They hire people who can do things that they can’t and then most importantly they place their trust within these people. They’re not micromanagers nor do they have the time to be micromanagers. They prefer to work with you to help you succeed and attain your goals because these leaders understand happy employees are productive employees. A successful leader who is a business owner realizes that her or his employees are not going to work as hard as she or he is and that they shouldn’t be expected to. It’s not their business, why would they work as hard as you?
How does a successful leader foster teamwork in a pandemic and post pandemic world? This is difficult to answer but lately it appears that many are starting by investing in a collaboration software such as Microsoft Teams. Leaders are investing in modern day collaboration software because it allows employees to collaborate with colleagues within the office or while working remotely.
3. They Create a Great Company Culture
There are many reasons as to why having a great corporate culture is essential but successful leaders understand that the main reasons are to keep top talent and attract top talent. If the atmosphere in your physical office or digital office is one of constant pressure, constant stress, or just plain bleak, people most likely aren’t going to want to work for you. Yes, this can be offset with increased salaries but no successful leader will want to waste money if he or she doesn’t have to.
Take for instance Berkshire Hathaway and its top leader Warren Buffett. Warren has created a company culture of simplicity, empathy, and one that is customer focused. As one of the richest people in the world he can frequently be seen eating a hamburger and drinking a chocolate milk shake at his favorite restaurant in town. By doing this simple little action he’s leading by example and showing that his employees and employees of Berkshire Hathaway’s acquisitions that it’s ok to take a deep breath, step back, and enjoy the little things in life to help keep your sanity. Warren has also been known to purchase companies after reading a single email because he felt empathetic toward that person and company.
Successful leaders are few and far in-between because most people confuse successful people with successful leaders. Just because you are successful that does not mean you are a great leader. Over the course of the next year or two we are going to see different leaders emerge who not only embody the 3 characteristics of having vision, the realization that it’s a team game, and have the ability to create a great company culture but leaders that are able to build upon these characteristics and take them to the next level.