What’s trending?

Ardern, Musk & automated leaders


From automating the role of the CEO to tackling the taboo of neurodiversity in senior roles, these are the top stories making headlines this month...

Throughout the last month, much has happened in the world of leadership. For example, revolts have started to take place over high executive pay – which you’ll be able to read more about below – while leaders across the world have been commended for the way in which they have responded to the coronavirus crisis.

To give you a snapshot of what’s trending and what’s not, myGrapevine magazine has delved into four of the biggest stories from the last month...

 

Leadership lessons from Jacinda Ardern

 

Leadership lessons from Jacinda Ardern

Throughout the last 12 months, businesses have had to deal with the uncertainty that coronavirus caused. During this period, New Zealand Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, was consistently praised for her decisive and strong nature. A recent study even recently named the female PM the ‘most successful pandemic leader’.

The 'most successful pandemic leader'

According to The Hub Events, Ardern garnered 54% of the votes, beating the likes of Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel who received 23% and the UK’s PM Boris Johnson who garnered 16%. Christine Macdonald, Director of The Hub Events, commended Ardern for her ability to offer reassurance in times of crisis, referencing her famous television reaction – it was really calm! – to a 5.8 magnitude earthquake. She noted that to offer reassurance like this as a leader shows others if they want to step up they must be able to assess a situation and respond calmly under pressure. “Jacinda’s immediate decisiveness was displayed through her choice to act early when the coronavirus’ global spread reached her shores,” Macdonald previously said.

Elon Musk opens up about leadership neurodiversity

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, recently revealed that he has a form of Asperger Syndrome (AS). Openly discussing such conditions like AS, which is on the autism spectrum, has previously been considered a taboo for senior leaders, as it is perceived that it could slow down career progression. For example, data from Neurodiversity Media shared that 28% of workers with an autism spectrum disorder have noted that difficulty changing jobs or getting a preferred job is the most commonly reported employment restriction.

28% of workers with an autism spectrum disorder have noted that difficulty changing jobs is one of the most commonly reported employment restrictions

However, despite this, Musk sharing his own experiences publicly on American TV show Saturday Night Live will only help to tackle this stigma. Plus, with other high-profile stars sharing a similar diagnosis – previously actors Sir Anthony Hopkins and Dan Ackroyd have talked about their diagnoses, as has climate change activist Greta Thunberg – more change will certainly take place when it comes to leadership neurodiversity.

Elon Musk opens up about leadership neurodiversity

 

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, recently revealed that he has a form of Asperger Syndrome (AS). Openly discussing such conditions like AS, which is on the autism spectrum, has previously been considered a taboo for senior leaders, as it is perceived that it could slow down career progression. For example, data from Neurodiversity Media shared that 28% of workers with an autism spectrum disorder have noted that difficulty changing jobs or getting a preferred job is the most commonly reported employment restriction.

28% of workers with an autism spectrum disorder have noted that difficulty changing jobs is one of the most commonly reported employment restrictions

However, despite this, Musk sharing his own experiences publicly on American TV show Saturday Night Live will only help to tackle this stigma. Plus, with other high-profile stars sharing similar diagnosis – previously actors Sir Anthony Hopkins and Dan Ackroyd have talked about their diagnoses, as has climate change activist Greta Thunberg – more change will certainly take place when it comes to leadership neurodiversity.

 

Is the CEO about to be automated?

 

Is the CEO about to be automated?

With businesses looking to commit to an increase in automation roles – in fact according to Mckinsey 31% of businesses already have fully automated at least one function – it begs the question whether the role of the CEO could be automated too. This was something that Oxford University alluded to back in 2014, after a report on what the most likely jobs to be automated were, ranked the role of the CEO in 631st place.

31% of businesses already have fully automated at least one function

Separate data from McKinsey found that CEOs spend almost 20% of their time on work that could be automated, while the recent uproar when it comes to the eyewatering amounts CEOs are paid every year, makes the notion of automating a CEO seem even more appealing. There are of course many risks when it comes to tech, especially with automation – take Amazon’s AI recruitment tool which discriminated against women as an example. However, considering how fast technology is becoming cheaper and easier to implement, it certainly is a viable option.

Is exec pay out of control?

The pandemic has shone a very bright light on executive pay, with firms such as Co-Op and Foxtons all coming under fire for offering staff bonuses despite furloughing huge numbers of staff. Similarly, AstraZeneca has recently been caught in the firing line after Chief Executive Pascal Soriot’s maximum share bonus was raised.

This pride is now tarnished by proposals to escalate executive pay

The decision was met with public outcry, while three key investor advisory groups – Pirc, Glass Lewis and ISS – have called on shareholders to vote against the decision. “As long-term responsible investors in AstraZeneca we applaud unreservedly the company’s leadership during the pandemic. This pride is now tarnished however by proposals to once again escalate executive pay to heights rarely seen in the UK,” said Neville White, Head of Responsible Investment Policy and Research at EdenTree Investment Management, which holds AstraZeneca. This decision certainly indicates that executive pay is increasing more and more, but does this indicate it’s out of control?

Is exec pay out of control?

 

The pandemic has shone a very bright light on executive pay, with firms such as Co-Op and Foxtons all coming under fire for offering staff bonuses despite furloughing huge numbers of staff. Similarly, AstraZeneca has recently been caught in the firing line after Chief Executive Pascal Soriot’s maximum share bonus was raised.

This pride is now tarnished by proposals to escalate executive pay

The decision was met with public outcry, while three key investor advisory groups – Pirc, Glass Lewis and ISS – have called on shareholders to vote against the decision. “As long-term responsible investors in AstraZeneca we applaud unreservedly the company’s leadership during the pandemic. This pride is now tarnished however by proposals to once again escalate executive pay to heights rarely seen in the UK,” Neville White, Head of Responsible Investment Policy and Research at EdenTree Investment Management, which holds AstraZeneca said. This decision certainly indicates that executive pay is increasing more and more, but does this indicate it’s out of control?