Leadership Characteristics: 3 Must address change

Self-care, empathy, and agility empowerment team

The magnitude, velocity, and complexity of the changes brought about by digitization; Accelerated technologies such as 5G, AI, and Quantum; Climate change; Demographic change; And the epidemic has disrupted the way we live, connect, work, travel and learn. Over the past two years, the complex changes forced by the epidemic across all aspects of life have forced leaders to adapt and develop new skills to continue to be effective. Today, leadership traits look quite different from two years ago. Leaders are more secure with self-care, empathy and weakness because they are not weak but they are more self-aware, realistic and genuine. This article discusses three characteristics that are important for effective leadership today: self-care, empathy, and agility.

3 traits are important for effective leadership today

1. Self-care

Traditionally, leaders have downplayed self-care as a soft and vague indulgence that is incompatible with their still nerves and fast-paced lives. Its recent Harvard Business Review In the article, Dr. Palena Nile mentions that when leaders practice self-care, they become better at caring for their team and mission. When I think of self-care, I always think of this maxim, “In an emergency, put on your oxygen mask first before helping others,” which is much more true now than ever before. In times of crisis, taking care of yourself is vital. We need to be resilient in order to meet the challenges that lie ahead. Taking care of yourself builds resilience in both body and mind.

We can make our bodies more resilient by exercising regularly, eating healthy foods and getting enough sleep. A more elastic body results in a more elastic feel. The Roman poet Juvenal famously said, “A healthy mind in a healthy body.” Workplace wellness expert Rachel Bohem says that self-care, including exercise, nutrition, sleep and stress management, “builds resilience like composite interests [1]”As Dr. Neil noted, leaders who exercise, eat healthy and get enough sleep are more open-minded, empathetic and agile.

Practicing self-care is about developing new habits. Exercising twenty minutes a day, eating more vegetables and less processed foods and getting eight hours of sleep every night is a good start. Most likely, you will not be able to implement all these changes overnight. As a leader, you need to start small and develop this habit every day. In his book The power of habit, Charles Duhig writes that the best way to create a new habit is to understand the signs, routines and rewards of the habit. He calls self-care a “keystone habit” because it can positively affect other habits. Journaling is a quick and easy way that leaders can use when practicing new habits.

2. Empathy

The second important leadership skill is empathy. Many leaders find this skill very “soft”. Being empathetic allows us to connect more meaningfully with others as we try to understand their feelings and perspectives from their perspectives. Empathy is important in understanding business and customer needs. Practicing empathy in design thinking is the first step in improving the user experience, which is the basis for developing and delivering winning products and services. [2]. IDEO, the leading design think tank, shows in this video that empathy is walking in another person’s shoes and trying to see, hear and feel what that person sees, hears and feels. [3].

This skill is not easy and requires practice. Recent New York Times The article gives some practical tips on how to practice empathy, including talking to new people, looking at things from other people’s perspectives, and working together for a common cause. [4]. All of these tips can be adapted to the workplace, especially for the joint mission of the organization and to align together as a team to serve the customer.

As a leader, you can talk to people in organizations you haven’t met before through a virtual “coffee” meeting. You can cast shadows on team members, customers or other stakeholders for a day, individually or in person, and try to see your organization’s products and services through their eyes. This practice can open your eyes and ignite new ideas and improvements in how you design and deliver products and services. Practicing empathy for your team, and with your team, towards the customer, can have significant positive results for both the employee and the customer experience.

3. Agility

According to the Oxford Language Dictionary, agility is the ability to move quickly and easily. Agility enables leaders and their teams to adapt to change and cope with crises so that they can come up with new ideas and new ways to deal with unforeseen problems in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) environment.

Pfizer CEO Albert Borla practiced agility and strongly encouraged his team to do the same during the nine-month race to develop a vaccine against COVID-19. In his book Munshot, Dr. Borla discusses how he consistently removed barriers and forced the team to think and act across all boundaries to achieve the impossible feat of developing vaccines in nine months instead of nine years of industry rules. He repeatedly pushed for the removal of emotional and procedural barriers, offered unlimited resources, and always made quick decisions to follow a more agile and often risky path, especially when it came down to choosing between “good enough” or something better against ticking. Comes. The watch originally, Dr. Borla, modeled agility in the way he thought and acted, creating an emotional security environment for his team to do it.

As Timothy Clark discusses in it Harvard Business Review Articles, work environments that promote high psychological protection through reward vulnerabilities create space for teams to achieve higher endeavors and unprecedented innovative results [5]. Conversely, low psychological security environment, overweight by fear, results in survival mode results.


Leaders have a huge responsibility to empower their team and hold them accountable for delivering performance results consistent with the organization’s mission. Because of the unprecedented challenges posed by the epidemic, leaders had to adapt, and today, research and practice show that leadership traits are changing to include a greater focus on self-care, empathy, and agility. When leaders practice these three leadership qualities, they become more efficient and better equipped to help their team improve, and together, deliver unprecedented mission results.


[1] I talk about mental health in the workplace. Yours.

[2] Design thinking

[3] A lesson in empathy

[4] How to be more sympathetic

[5] Agility does not work without psychological security