Skip to main content

15Five acquires Emplify and relaunches human-centered platform Learn more

3 Trends Business Leaders Should Expect to See in 2021

Adam Weber
Adam Weber

This year has been challenging, and we’re all anxious to turn the calendar page and get started on a new year. However, the end of 2020 doesn’t necessarily mean the end of some of the trends we saw emerge as the year unfolded. Here are three trends you can expect to continue in 2021 and how you can address them.


Centeredness means leading as your whole authentic, connected self, which requires growing your self-awareness. There’s no silver bullet to becoming an authentic leader. It is the combination of working to become an authentic person and applying solid leadership principles and tactics. Doing one or the other is not enough. 

  • Create a daily practice of self-reflection. Gently observe who you are, how you’re feeling, and write down what you’re experiencing.
  • Focus on your health. What you accomplish at work isn’t all of who you are, so take care of the whole version of you, not just the work version.
  • Invest in relationships. People you can trust to tell you the truth about how you are showing up and how it affects your work. 

Remote work

Eighty-six percent of companies say some version of work from home will continue after the pandemic.

There are all sorts of challenges that come from remote working, replicating the office environment via zoom isn’t a viable solution. As a result, we’re losing some of the foundational relationships that need to happen to make businesses successful.

  • Lean into transparency. Peel back the curtain on the decisions you’re making. Building trust requires genuine openness, and you have to be extremely intentional because you don’t have as many micro-interactions anymore.
  • Be intentional about creating time with different groups of employees. If you don’t, they will still have the conversations with each other, but they will lack the business context you could provide.
  • Create space for more organic social interactions. Get creative with ways you can create opportunities for connection outside of business norms to nurture good relationships across the board. 

Outcomes first 

Focusing on outcomes first means saying, “Hey, I don’t care when you work or where you work, but what could you accomplish?”

  • Focus on outcomes, not optics. Release the concept of posturing that took place in offices. Posturing means when you show up at 8:05, your manager thinks you’re a terrible employee, but if you show up at 7:59, you’re a good employee. 
  • Make success clear. As a manager, is it evident what success looks like for each employee on your team? Do they know how to achieve that outcome? Are they doing it in a way that aligns with the values of the business? 

You shouldn’t care about the optics of how they do it, when they’re showing up, and what they’re doing while at work. As 2020, ends let’s make that mentality a thing of the past. 

If you’d like a more in-depth look at this topic, check out our recent podcast episode

Unlock the true potential of your people.

Get Started