Main Leadership Challenges For CEOs In 2021

Posted: May 25, 2021

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent shelter in place orders, supply chain interruptions globally and domestically, and navigating the management of newly remote workers on top of meeting financial goals, 2021 has certainly not been without its share of unique challenges for CEOs across every industry. As the first half of 2021 comes to a close, we are seeing some prevailing concerns from CEOs that no MBA program or leadership retreat could have provided preparation for. Executive Compensation has been a hot topic throughout the course of the COVID pandemic, and some of the unique pandemic related challenges that CEOs have faced absolutely tie into and influence their compensation structure. This article will look at the top challenges facing CEOs right now. Team cohesion A company survives and thrives with the success of its teams. The ability to set clear goals and expectations while keeping team members motivated and engaged is challenging in and of itself under normal circumstances. It is even difficult to do when working in the same building, seeing each other face to face, and enjoying lunch together. However, without this daily interaction, it becomes much more of a challenge to build a cohesive, healthy environment that facilitates a shared vision and commitment to goal attainment. In lieu of physical interaction, CEOs have been utilizing Zoom and other apps to keep meetings, conferences, and group dynamics alive, but admit that it is merely a substitute for in-person interaction. Managing employees Managing people is always challenging but even more so when you are not seeing one another in a physical capacity on a regular basis. Making sure that everyone meets deadlines and maintains their urgency and discipline all add to the rising stress level on CEOs. Supply chain management Between shelter in place orders, restricted operational hours, and the prevailing labor shortage amongst the supply and infrastructure chain, being able to do something as standard as efficiently ship products has become a major challenge. With the continued interruption of the supply chain, CEOs are experiencing hardships with fulfilling client orders regardless of time frame. Usually, they cite raw material shortages, lack of factory personnel, and even overworked transportation employees as the main problems with getting product delivered on time. Acquisition and retention of talent Good employees have always been hard to find, let alone during the COVID-19 era of remote work, stimulus checks, and unemployment benefits. However, there are actually some positives that have resulted from the global pandemic. Previously, CEOs were forced to hire locally or pay to relocate quality talent from one part of the country or world to another. Now, CEOs can recruit from the global marketplace instead of their area or region of the world. The only downside to this is that CEOs are competing with companies across the globe for quality talent. So while the potential talent pool has drastically increased, so has the opportunities for said talent resulting in a net neutral gain for companies globally. Additionally, retention amongst existing talent remains a concern as workers are experiencing difficulties balancing remote work with family demands. Since people are constantly working from home, the line between the office and home has become blurred. This results in people working longer hours (usually in isolation) which can result in burnout - another unique challenge CEOs and managers will have to juggle as we move further into 2021. To learn more about maximizing executive compensation, visit our Contact Page, or contact us directly by email at or by phone at 415-618-6060.