The New Face Of Leadership (and Governance) - Kathy Varol

The New Face Of Leadership (and Governance)

as a leader

The face of leadership has changed. The reign of CEO as a benevolent dictator with all the answers is over.

The CEO holds the heart of the organization. As a leader, you set the purpose that guides and galvanizes the company. You champion the Environmental, Social, and Governance (i.e. ESG) strategy across your organization.

The CEO’s responsibility is to nurture the culture and remove roadblocks from the workforce, so they can do their best work. The CEO is there to serve the employees, so they can serve the customers.

A big part of creating a healthy culture is proactively ensuring your employees aren’t burning themselves out. We have created a culture that wears burnout, lack of sleep, and “busy” as badges of honor. It’s going to take intention to break that culture and replace it with balance.

Your employees and your company will be better for it.

As a leader it’s up to you to lean in with curiosity, test and find creative ways to instill a culture of balance, and (equally important) to model that behavior yourself.

If your employees are going 100% all the time, they are stuck in the weeds.

You want your employees giving their all—just 70% or 80%—of their workdays.


To thrive, you need to create a culture where your workforce has the space and the mental capacity to generate big ideas. The 10x ideas that could transform their department and your company.

The ideas that will make you an industry leader.

They can’t do that if they’re putting out fire drills, executing the current plan, and tethered to their devices 24/7.

There just isn’t space.

The status quo is too limited.

The ceiling is capped at what’s been done before.

When there is space, large-scale, sustainable change is possible.

As you aim for the moon, as a CEO it’s your responsibility to create a culture of smart risk-taking, continuous improvement, and the psychological safety to learn from failure.

When you are aiming high, doing things that have never been done before, they won’t always work.

Remember that to rule out failure is to rule out success.

Those who nudge the world forward have nothing to do with intellect, connections, or specific skills. The ones whose actions and ideas create the biggest change are the ones who stay in the game. Try. Fail. Then try again.

Be intentional about creating a culture that doesn’t hide failure, but instead leans in with curiosity to learn from it.

Success doesn’t just wait for us on a distant horizon. Success is within all of us, waiting for us to live into it. Waiting for us to have the courage to try and try again.

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