We constantly hear the phrase of Authentic Leadership, and now we are hearing discussions around Leadership in the Digital Age.

As I was reading a recent article, I came across a persona that would fit that mold.

Goldman Sachs’ CEO takes the subway, gets his coffee, and has a side hustle as a DJ

The CEO of Goldman Sachs investment was profiled in a recent article on CNBC that talked about how he rides the subway to work, gets his coffee at work and still DJ’s on the weekend. As I read this article, I hope that rising executives across the globe will take stock in this type of “common persons” approach to the executive suite.

I am sure that his employees view him in a different light than the chauffeur-driven, staff at the call, and the golfer on the weekend. Oh, and by the way, he made 23 million USD last year.

According to the profile, certain Goldman Sachs’ board members were unhappy with the idea that he would ride the subway. Neither does the fact that his DJ persona has become a conversation.

“You know what, it’s who I am, and nobody would tell me not to play golf,” Solomon said. “And why shouldn’t I — because I’m a CEO?”

Every organization should realize that leadership competencies in the digital age are different than in past years. Imagine for a minute that your customer requirements were changing, and your customer was moving beyond transactional relationship towards customer experiences.

Here is my list of competencies that I feel are important to today’s leaders, but more importantly, for the next generation of leaders.

Being Authentic

Being yourself is not about standing out or being different from others. Being authentic is following your path, not comparing it with others. When you try to be ‘different,’ you disconnect from what you want. Authenticity is about staying true to what you believe, not about your image, to be brave to express your genuine feelings and opinions.

Being Humble

The ability to accept feedback and acknowledge and accept the fact that others may know more than you. Humble leaders are always open to learning, challenging assumptions, and opinions that help the team.


Being highly adaptable does not necessarily mean not being opinionated. Professor Jordan argues that while successful leaders are adaptable, they have strong opinions, even in the wake of uncertainty and unknown.


True humility requires self-awareness which refers to having an accurate assessment of both strengths and weaknesses and being comfortable with that assessment.


A willingness to listen, interact and communicate with internal and external stakeholders from employees to customers.

Influencing skills

The ability to sell either a concept, convince your employees, however, reluctant that they give it a chance to succeed.  Being seen as credible and perceived as someone who gets it.


Having a clear sense of long-term direction, even in the face of short-term uncertainty, but also being realistic.


Constant scanning of internal and external environments for opportunities & threats. It is not only about knowing how can you solve a problem today, but it is also about how can you solve it tomorrow.

To connect to a different customer and a different employee means that this 2-prong approach will require different skill-sets. This environment that we are heading into means our navigation skills must change. To sail into this new environment means that our sail will need to be adjusted.

So my humble advice is “Be the subway rider and the DJ” your employees will thank you for it.