CEO Leadership During COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic has been an epic test of character and determination for millions of people around the world. Nothing compares with the sacrifice of workers on the front lines in hospitals and other essential services. In the business context, CEOs have had to cope with extraordinary demands: for them, the pandemic has been an ultimate leadership test, according to a new report by Homayoun Hatami, Pal Erik Sjatil, and Kevin Sneader of McKinsey & Company.

Over the past few months, the McKinsey partners spoke with business leaders around the globe about how they are coping both personally and professionally. Many told McKinsey about the microhabits—daily routines and ways of working—that they have adopted to help them, and their companies, weather this crisis and emerge stronger from it.

Coping with the sudden shutdown of the global economy was hard enough; figuring out how to restart in such an uncertain environment is, if anything, even harder, many told McKinsey. CEOs are expected to show “deliberate calm” and “bounded optimism.” 

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