Are you a Human CEO? Our recent research, Shift/Forward: The Future of Leadership, is an inaugural study with The Female Quotient that examines how leadership styles should evolve to meet the expectations of today’s workers. We discovered that the respondents were looking for the “Human CEO” – a leader of any seniority level who is able to balance hard and soft power traits.

The top traits respondents who participated in the study identified reflected this balance: three are soft power - being communicative (71 percent), flexible (58 percent), and patient (53 percent); while the other two are hard power traits — hardworking (68 percent) and confident (58 percent).

Three Key Findings:

1. Many employees are looking for more from their organization’s current leadership. 72% of employees say we need to redefine leadership to fit the demands of today’s modern world.

2.  Organizations could do more to reap the benefits of inclusive work environments. Our research discovered that for many, an inclusive culture is a crucial component for a sense of advancement. The top three accelerators respondents identified for their career growth was acceptance, advocacy, and authenticity.

3. Modern leaders should look to balance hard and soft power traits. Respondents were clear that they are looking for leaders to be more transparent (47 percent), authentic (50 percent), and to recognize their own weaknesses (53 percent). Today’s workforce is often seeking leaders with the humility to admit their own shortcomings and the courage to hold themselves accountable. By skillfully adopting these traits, the leader can then improve the organization.

“This research provides essential insights in how we can advance inclusion. Inclusive leaders need to consider balancing hard and soft skills to truly meet the needs and expectations of today’s workforce.” – Terri Cooper, Chief Inclusion Officer

For more information, read the full report here.