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The leadership landscape is shifting and transforming, especially after acceleration by Covid-19.2021 Edelman Trust Barometer trust and credibility survey shows trust has shifted from government to private sector. That means more expectations on senior leadership, so what do people expect from a CEO in 2021?

Empathetic Accuracy (EA)

People expect CEOs to have empathetic accuracy, which means a capacity to understand other people’s feelings correctly, thoughts, and emotions. Leaders should determine if they know their market and if they are broadening their landscape of understanding. They should equally own both wins and losses but aspire for more victories. CEOs also need to learn leadership traps like failing to treat people or not reading the mood in a room. Those who develop a better understanding of their employees, their viewpoint, and the value they bring are better at avoiding leadership stumbles. They also have better productive conservations and outcomes.

Enhanced Intellectual Curiosity

Intelligence is but is not above experience. Experience informs intelligence while aptitude allows applications of learned things. A CEO should counteract intellectual arrogance by constantly asking questions that get more information. Intellectual arrogance develops when leaders rely on their intelligence without considering expertise and experience in the subject matter. Many leaders think their proficiency in a few areas translates to everything and fail to learn things they do not know. For example, an expert in coding may not be great in business development. Good leaders are humble and acknowledge they do not know everything.

More Listening to Connect Dots

A 2021 CEO should not believe all their life experiences resonate with everyone as such tendency leads to Ivory Tower Syndrome (ITS) that makes leaders lose touch with employees and customers. They cannot connect dots unless they hear or see them. CEOs should work in 2021 to build more representative teams as they help notice dots and counteract ITS if leadership included their voices and opinions. A modern CEO enthusiastically seeks feedback to prevent making decisions in isolation and planning without considering the full talent in the organization. Diverse views from teams help to make informed decisions, so CEOs should listen much.

Breakage from the Echo Chamber

People feel comfortable keeping the company of individuals with similar backgrounds, values, thoughts, and beliefs. It is comfortable but increases the risk of groupthink that favors a herd’s over personal opinion. Decision-making should be a data-informed, respectful debate targeting the best solution as the end goal. Agreement and consensus feel nice but is not effective or logical way if statistics do not inform it. A bigger circle, creating space and elevation on underrepresented voices, is what people expect from a CEO in 2021.