Former Boris Johnson adviser: The shifting tides of modern leadership require authenticity, accountability and humility

Big Ben has been silent for nearly two years, yet technology and society seem to move at the speed of light and the challenges to reputation are almost infinite.

Communicating effectively is harder than ever, but also more critical, argues Guto Harri
Communicating effectively is harder than ever, but also more critical, argues Guto Harri

The reputation gap – the difference between how brands think they are regarded and how they are actually perceived - can be dangerously wide. Audiences are saturated with information, but anxious about whom to trust.

Communicating effectively is harder than ever, but also more critical.

Yet the objectives remain the same; business leaders want to deliver authenticity and trustworthiness.

Effective leaders need to demonstrate EQs well as IQ, to master both words and numbers – to have the ability to tell a story, as well as read a spreadsheet.

The theme of accountability is high on the agenda in today’s C-suite, which is no surprise – the cultural shift from solely print to digital media means that today’s leaders are under closer scrutiny than before; their actions dissected and critiqued.

Most senior chief executives have bosses as well, whether they’re shareholders or the general public.

What does a CEO need to consider when it comes to reputation, both business and personal?

The three recurrent motifs are authenticity, accountability and humility. They need to have the confidence to lead their organisations to do the right thing.

And this isn’t just a moral necessity – a sterling reputation helps to protect a business’s bottom line.

The tides of modern leadership have shifted.

All of the people I’ve spoken to are concerned with the same things when it comes to communication: authenticity and building trust, especially in today’s volatile times, where truths can be twisted at the tap of a keyboard.

This is a stark reminder how crucial it is for communications professionals to sit at the top table, and to be involved in key-business decisions, so that we can help mitigate any reputational risk along the way.

Guto Harri is a senior adviser at Hanover Communications and the Mayor of London's former comms director

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