CEOs with heart
CEO as empath-i-zer. Interesting notion. In a poll among New York voters about the upcoming mayoral race, 61% said that they want a candidate who understands the needs and problems of regular New Yorkers. That one factor was most critical to them despite the fact that they give the Mayor high marks for what he has done. Clearly, New Yorkers are reacting to three terms of Mayor Bloomberg but I think it reflects the ever widening gap between those who are in charge and those who are not (most everyone).
I think that we are witnessing the emergence of a new leadership quality that we demand of CEOs as well — heart. I think I can fairly say that most employees probably want a CEO who understands what it is like to walk in their shoes, understands what they do and understands that “fairness” is at the core of how we view business leaders today. In contrast to the imperial CEO of years ago, employees are looking for CEOs who are empathetic. Of course, employees want a solid leader who can see around corners, drive growth, deliver profitability, communicate what the company stands for and build a culture worth staying loyal to. But the softer side of things is slowly encroaching on the attributes we want from our leaders. Empathy and generosity are rising to the top from what I can tell.
New Yorkers are wise to ask for more heart from their civic leaders. You’d think they’ve known this all along. The New York logo and song, “I Love New York,” has been around since the 1970s.