Over the last several weeks, we’ve talked about (and shared) news stories from leading business press about the rapidly changing business environment, and the myriad challenges leaders face.

This story from Inc. this week didn’t mince words, and (we thought) really hits the nail on the head: If You Don’t Make These 5 Changes, You’re Not a Great Leader Anymore. Everything has changed, and what you were doing prior to the pandemic isn’t relevant now.

For leaders, the task is daunting. Many have spent years honing their leadership philosophy and style, and now, everything has been turned upside down.

The qualities you need

For a long time, Stefan Wissenbach, our founder, has advocated a Kaizen approach to the Herculean task of developing a truly engaged organization. Incremental changes, made consistently, will over time deliver the desired result.

Similarly, he’s isolated seven key qualities leaders need to succeed in this challenging moment. These seven qualities are:

  • Courage
  • Credibility
  • Confidence
  • Connectedness
  • Consistency
  • Caring
  • Commitment

Stefan expounded at length upon these characteristics, and the necessity for executives to assess their organization’s leadership capabilities in a recent webinar entitled “The Leadership Perception Gap.” If you’d like to take the deep dive, here’s the replay. It runs about 45 minutes and is packed to the gills with information.


How each of these characteristics are perceived by employees contributes to the effectiveness of a leader.

Courage: A courageous leader embraces the good, the bad, and the ugly
Resulting employee impact: I am confident in my leader because he/she makes good, fair decisions and is open to receiving honest feedback from employees.

Credible: Credible leaders “walk their talk”
Resulting employee impact: My leader motivates me by leading by example and displaying the same standards he/she expects from employees.

Confident: Confident leaders value outcomes over inputs
Resulting employee impact: There is mutual trust between me and my leader. I am trusted to get my job done without micromanagement knowing I can call on my leader’s support when I need it.

Connected: Connected leaders have a “one purpose, one team” mindset
Resulting employee impact: My leader demonstrates enthusiasm for our Purpose and is a strong communicator who keeps employees up to date with progress and news.

Consistent: Consistent leaders are thoughtful and dependable
Resulting employee impact: I consistently have productive two-way review meetings with my leader and as a result, I understand how my role contributes to the business’s goals.

Caring: Caring leaders believe when everyone grows, everyone wins
Resulting employee impact: My leader treats me as a valued team member and actively seeks to help my personal development.

Committed: Committed leaders are in it for the long term, and focused on the future
Resulting employee impact: My leader inspires confidence in me by demonstrating his/her commitment to the future success of the business.

A moment for reflection

Leaders should take a moment to reflect on these seven dimensions, and ask themselves the following questions:

  • How would you score yourself on these dimensions?
  • How would you score your leaders across the firm?
  • How would your leaders score themselves?
  • How would your employees score their leaders?

According to a study by Gartner last year titled “Reshaping Leadership for the Future,” half of leaders surveyed don’t believe they’re well equipped to lead their organization into the future. Similarly, only half of employees surveyed for the same study said that their leaders effectively create vision for the future of their team.

The pressures the Covid19 crisis has wrought are not likely to have improved the situation for leaders. What will improve it is focused and thoughtful action to ensure leaders are equipped to lead, and just as importantly, have the confidence of the teams they’re leading.

Helping you get started

To help leaders get started, we’ve created the Leadership Perception Gap survey, which we are appending to our core Benchmark Assessment, our flagship employee engagement survey tool. Current Engagement Multiplier clients should contact Support or their Engagement Manager for access to this module.

If your company doesn’t use Engagement Multiplier, we have good news for you: we’re providing free access to the Benchmark Assessment and Leadership Perception Gap surveys at no charge (and with no strings attached) to business leaders as part of our efforts to support the business community and its efforts to recover from the pandemic. Details are here.