Post-Pandemic CEO Leadership Paradoxes

by / ⠀Career Advice Entrepreneurship / December 20, 2021
Age doesn't matter as you pursue CEO leadership...only your work and your results. Alexander the Great conquered half the world by age 33!

Age doesn’t matter as you pursue CEO leadership…only your work and your results. Alexander the Great conquered half the world by age 33!

Leaders must be adept in a wide range of paradoxical management attributes to flourish in the post-pandemic world. Leaders must balance vision with execution. They must be brave decision-makers, terrific listeners, and advocates of diversity. Third, they must be tech-savvy humanists who understand and care for their people.

Innovators preserve their organizations’ aims and purpose while pushing innovation to the limit. Finally, they must be global localists seeking special insights into their clients.

The pandemic has accelerated a decade-long trend for CEO leadership.

The spectrum of options faced by leaders has widened as the world has become more digital and complicated. And decision-making criteria have widened to include ESG as well as tightly defined profit objectives.

The past year has been unusually challenging, forcing leaders to make decisions they had never made before. Creating value in this new environment requires new leadership qualities.

For example, Microsoft, the Cleveland Clinic, and Philips all strove to be proficient across a broad set of traits rather than depending primarily on their areas of expertise. They learned to cooperate with people from all backgrounds and perspectives, and they encouraged collaboration to run their firm despite their differences.

They also correspond with the six paradoxes of leadership highlighted in Blair Sheppard’s latest book, Ten Years to Midnight.

Character traits are important for smart CEO leadership.

Leaders who wish to thrive in this complicated and fast-paced business environment need to understand the new world and their company’s role in it. A powerful position for the firm demands strategic leaders, visionaries who can step back from the day-to-day to see where the world is going, see how value may be produced in ways that are different from today.

But being a skilled strategist isn’t enough. Leaders must also be adept at execution. They must own the company’s future evolution. They must transform strategy into precise action stages and complete implementation. To provide the future, they must be capable of making quick operational choices.

Because there is so much to do to push the boundaries of what is possible, the digital paradigm of value creation may demand even greater execution abilities. Here are five archetypes.

1. Hercules Management

In an uncertain digital era, hero leaders are needed who are ready to take risks such as leaving or entering new markets. Leaders must also be humble enough to admit their ignorance and hire people with varying talents, backgrounds, and abilities. They must be open to learning from individuals with less experience but more relevant thoughts. They must be open-minded and good listeners to grasp not just new technology but also new ways of doing things.

2. Humanist Techie

Previously, executives could get away with outsourcing technological concerns to their chief information or chief digital officer, but not anymore. Because technology is vital to practically every aspect of a company, including innovation, product management, operations, sales, customer service, and finance, every leader must grasp what technology can accomplish for them. They must also comprehend and care about people. They must comprehend how technology affects people’s lives and assist them in adapting to and adopting the various changes wrought by technology. Engaging people with empathy and sincerity helps them accept change and co-own transformation.

3. Veteran Innovator

In a world of rapid change and various disruptions, company purpose and values have never been more critical. Clarity of purpose and values helps firms navigate uncertainty and create importance and relevance. This goes double for CEO leadership. While reimagining their company’s role in the world, CEOs must remain grounded in their corporate identity. They must understand the organization’s purpose and values to determine how to produce value that engages people in their ecosystems and is future-proof. At the same time, leaders must develop and experiment more quickly than before. They must be brave enough to fail and let others fall. But every CEO knows they must get up after they fall. But all of this exploration and innovation must be constrained by the company’s mission.

4. Apolitical Management Integrity

Ability to gather support, negotiate, establish coalitions and alliances, and overcome obstacles is critical in an ecosystem where corporations, organizations, and individuals must work to produce value. Taking one step back allows leaders to take two steps forward. But this manner of working will only work if leaders act with trust and honesty. Effective ecosystem collaboration requires mutual trust. The leadership of the CEO is most responsible for this. Customers will only give privileged insights and join ecosystems if they trust how their data is utilized and treated. For many organizations, navigating increased regulatory scrutiny will require honesty. Integrity and trust are prerequisites in a data-driven economy. These are principles that can only be achieved by human leaders making intentional decisions assessed by actions and words.

5. Global Localist

Technology has reduced barriers and distances, making it simpler to contact clients throughout the world and interact with those who live far apart. Access to global ideas and talent requires much searching. Companies look worldwide. They use technology to search this vast world of information. They look for leaders that can think internationally, engaging with people from all walks of life. Moreover, leaders in the digital age must be acutely aware of and attentive to their customers’ needs, as well as the communities and ecosystems in which they operate. No CEO invested in leadership should duck the issue. People want organizations to respond to their requirements. Therefore executives must develop a regionally aware approach. While not thorough, we feel it gives a solid starting point for navigating the new age.

To handle the complicated environment we live in, leaders must use their talents and broaden their horizons. Leaders who are willing to reinvent themselves will be the digital age’s champions.

About The Author

Kimberly Zhang

Editor in Chief of Under30CEO. I have a passion for helping educate the next generation of leaders.