Leadership in 2021 and Beyond

Jan 11, 2021 1 Min Read
2021 and beyond

2020 has been an unprecedented year in history. The pandemic has accelerated tomorrow’s future into today. Somehow, we have survived the year (some have thrived!) and we’re now faced with the first few weeks of the next 365 days.

I am convinced more than ever that “Everything rises and falls on leadership” (Maxwell). Whether you are a corporate leader, civil servant, employer, employee, home-maker or student – your ability to lead yourself and others will determine how the next 365 days will look like.

Over and above the functional and technical competencies required for leadership roles, leadership in 2021 and beyond requires the Leadership P.A.T.C.H.


Leaders in 2021 and beyond must be purposeful. 

Purpose is the reason for your existence. Being purposeful is being intentional about living out that purpose. Purpose is not a series of fluffy statements strung together and hung on a wall, but it is something that leaders are focused and geared towards.

Purposeful leaders deliver value. Leaders have the responsibility to ensure that people and organisations are aligned and steered in the right direction. That is the purpose of leadership. To exercise influence and bring people to the desired destination. 

Purposeful leaders lead with conviction and clarity. Without purpose, one will be merely doing things out of convenience. Without purpose, leaders give-up when the going gets tough. Without purpose, there is no context to grit, resilience and agility.


Leaders in 2021 and beyond must be authentic.

Followers understand times have changed. We have seen the level of uncertainty rise like never before. No one can be certain of how 2021 (and beyond) will look like. Many have offered views, but the fact remains that no one really knows.

Authentic leaders are real. They display vulnerability. They admit they don’t know it all. They too have questions. They are equally concerned about the future. Authentic leaders do not hide from these realities.

Authentic leaders are wise. Wise to be vulnerable, yet confident to lead. Their confidence stems from the collective wisdom and courage, not just their own. Wise leaders are selfless. They understand it’s not about me, but WE.  

Authentic leaders are inclusive. They create space for co-creation and ownership. They leverage and build on the synergies of others. They value people. They realise that their role is one of a conductor, not a soloist.


Leaders in 2021 and beyond must be trustworthy.

Trust is built over time, but can be dismantled overnight. Trust takes years to build but can be lost in a brief moment. Trust is the leadership currency every leader must continue to have. Without trust, it is impossible to lead.

Trust is the oil that enables the leadership engine to function smoothly.

To be a trusted leader, leaders must be consistent. Their audio must match their video. Their words and deeds must be aligned. What they say and what they do is synchronised. Failure to do so creates confusion and diminishes trust.

To be a trusted leader, leaders must be competent. They must have the functional and technical competencies to do the job. They demonstrate capabilities that enable them to be placed in the role. They are positioned by meritocracy and not favouritism. 

A trustworthy leader is credible because they are consistent and competent. When leaders have credibility, trust is easily accorded. Trust is the oil that enables the leadership engine to function smoothly. 


Leaders in 2021 and beyond must be compassionate.

Compassionate leaders understand what it feels like to be in the shoes of others. They think and feel together with their heart and head. Pragmatic objectivity allows them to combine knowledge and apply experience to varied leadership situations.

Empathy allows leaders to experience what others are going through. Compassion moves them to do something about it to alleviate the situation. 

Compassionate leaders go beyond empathy. Empathy allows leaders to experience what others are going through. Compassion moves them to do something about it to alleviate the situation. 

Compassionate leaders understand the difference between quick-fixes and long-term help. They maintain a delicate balance of ‘giving others fish’ and ‘teaching them to fish’ - enough help to get them going with the aim of creating independence. 


Leaders in 2021 and beyond must be humble.

Humility is a virtue, a value that is caught as much as it can be taught. A humble leader does not think less of themselves, but rather they think of themselves less. Humility allows leaders to grow in wisdom and stature.

A humble leader is always learning. They value what others think and seek to gather diverse thoughts and experiences to enrich everyone’s learning. They are not threatened by others. They have a growth mindset that acts as a catalyst for development.

A humble leader understands servant-leadership. They seek to serve others and not themselves. They are not self-seeking nor self-serving. Their role in leadership is to facilitate the journey for others. 
A humble leader seeks to serve the generations. They view themselves as stewards who are responsible for the lives of many. Not just those under their direct influence, but also those whom their followers serve.

2021 and beyond

Leadership in 2021 and beyond requires us to be purposeful, authentic, trustworthy, compassionate and humble. 

Take a moment as we close out the year to reflect on the Leadership P.A.T.C.H. Where have you done well? What areas may require some attention? How can we do better in 2021 and beyond?

In 2021 and beyond, the world is looking for leaders who humbly serve others compassionately, someone whom they can trust and is authentic in their leadership purpose. Be that leader!

Ready to be that leader? Apply for Team Lead Supervision positions here.

Leaderonomics is one of the top leadership development organisations in the world. Watch the quick video below on how you can become a better leader by engaging with Leaderonomics

Leaderonomics is currently raising its Series A via Fundnel
Read more on its transformation from a traditional leadership development organisation, into a technology intelligence organisation here

Share This


Tags: Executing Leadership, Youth

Bernard is the Founder of Invigorate Consulting, a firm seeking to connect people and organisations to their purpose. He has over 20 years of management consulting and corporate experience with global organisations. He is also a seasoned facilitator. He enjoys travelling and is excited about the second half of life.

You May Also Like

women coming up with new innovation

Transitioning From Intellectual Property to Innovation Perpetuity

By Dzuleira Abu Bakar. This article highlights the growing significance of intellectual property in today's world and how Malaysia is at the forefront of this trend. But to truly drive progress, we must engage women in the field of technology and innovation, as they bring a unique perspective and creative solutions to the table. Continue reading to learn more about the pioneers from Malaysia.

May 08, 2023 6 Min Read


The Intern Show EP1

Oct 15, 2020 33 Min Podcast


Lecture Halls Without Lectures

Appearing on The Leaderonomics Show alongside host Roshan Thiran, Prof Prober discussed his frustrations and hopes about current and future education models. While he focused on medical education, his vision is easily applicable across all sectors and industries to help drive forward the standards of learning.

Jan 19, 2019 25 Min Video

Be a Leader's Digest Reader