2020 will have tested everyone.

Much will change as a result-behaviours, leaders and attitudes. A more compassionate approach too.

One of the most striking aspects of 2020 is that we are only 10 weeks in and already there have been no few major new stories and dramas. The Australian fires seem almost like a long time ago. The Iranian passenger plane shot down too.

In Britain, it has been a harsh winter period with Brexit, the rain and floods and now, of course, the Coronavirus. This is going to be quite a test for everyone.

There has been no little criticism of business leaders over the past few years and this will be yet another major test and one where there is no opting from not placing the “people issue” first. One can argue that leadership will need to place people first and show a real strength in their behaviours towards employees, customers and communities that we arguably have not seen for a number of decades.

There has been a growing momentum over the last 18 months towards business embracing a broader perspective; one which does engage a stronger social agenda. This path was already being well laid but the Coronavirus may just be an extra catalyst in ensuring that business and its leaders to show a more compassionate and wider-reaching approach than has been the case in the last forty years.

From the 1940s through to the 1980s there was a strong bond between employer and employee. Many employees took pride in their company and companies took pride in how they were part of communities. There was a robust bond. In the last forty years, this bond was gradually eroded. It really does not matter what was the causes of the erosion but we may now see a swing back towards the bond being strengthened once again.

Modern leadership or at least, the expectation of modern leadership is for a more compassionate and more knowledgeable approach. It stands for inclusion, for diversity and difference, for people. It also stands for rebuilding trust again between leader and teams. That is the bar that most leaders today will be judged against and why so many are criticised as many falls below the expectation.

People do want better and this will impact on business leadership and behaviours. We can all think of great leaders in our past who simply not even get close to a leadership role today. The bar has risen. The irony is many of those leaders did have empathy and understanding of people/communities which is actually what is wanted today. This is just one of the natural contradictions of a world evolving.

Clients, companies, suppliers, customers are all going to be changing behaviours in the immediate future. It is no longer acceptable to place a selfish agenda first. It is no longer acceptable to not have a broader agenda for people and society.

It is a more natural and compassionate business environment will emerge over the next few years. It will be interesting if this period will also now see a set of new leaders emerge?