As heightened demands for workplace equality and new pressures around hybrid work continue to dramatically shape business culture, CEOs worldwide are reevaluating their role, how they engage with their team, as well as how they hold their organization – and themselves – accountable for making their businesses future-ready. According to a study by Egon Zehnder, 83 percent of leaders find it essential to reflect on their own leadership style – up from 66 percent in the 2018 study. They are committed to listening to diverse perspectives and are increasingly seeking feedback from new places–including team members, chairs, mentors, consultants, and other CEOs. Today, CEOs view prioritizing their own development and tapping into the intrinsic sources of energy of the people in their organizations as crucial to navigating through complex business environments, according to a statement.
The study also suggests that 90 percent of CEOs report they have moved to the center of increasingly louder, more diverse, and diverging voices. When asked about the impact of recent circumstances on their organization, most CEOs highlighted accelerated decision making and change, and greater economic uncertainty. These shifts speak to the complexities and rapid evolution that is reshaping business – and that CEOs will answer to more stakeholders and be measured in new and emerging ways. According to the study, 78 percent of CEOs strongly agree that they need to continue their self-transformation–three times as much from 2018. CEOs also agree strongly on the importance of the “dual journey,” a path where leaders believe viewing their personal development and their organization’s growth as an interrelated journey will affect optimal change. Two-thirds of CEOs report that the ultimate metrics that steer their decisions have remained consistent, despite new social and economic business expectations that they express support for.
An analysis of open-ended answers has shown that nearly 500 CEOs see relational capabilities as a key blind spot. Specifically, less than half of CEOs (44 percent) report they feel fully aligned with their teams, and even fewer with their boards–pointing to heightened levels of tension and increased need for collaboration. Egon Zehnder announced the results of a study that surveyed 972 CEOs worldwide. The study uncovered that self-reflection and personal development have jumped to be among the top of CEO priorities, realizing that the key to prosperity is to improve the human side of their leadership, the statement said.
Jill Ader, Global Chairwoman, Egon Zehnder, said, “CEOs recognize that today’s unprecedented business complexities require a significant shift in leadership–and that change must begin by looking inward with new levels of self-reflection and personal development. This isn’t self-indulgent navel-gazing; it’s what our teams, organizations, and stakeholders expect of our CEOs.” “Now, more than ever, traditional business acumen must be equally balanced with empathy and compassion in order to gain their teams’ and organizations’ emotional commitment, navigate business complexities and build productive, inspiring workplaces,” Ader added. “Navigating through these complex environments demands CEOs increase their personal capacity to be adaptive, relational, and self-aware,” said Kati Najipoor-Schuette and Dick Patton, co-leaders, Egon Zehnder’s CEO advisory group and co-authors of this study.