Ten Key Skills Of Future Leaders

Ten Key Skills Of Future Leaders

Key insights

  • Digital connection, AI and automation are the biggest disruptive influences for future leaders
  • Innovation is considered one of the most critical skills for future leaders
  • Diversity is key, and diverse teams deliver 60% better results.

The business landscape is changing rapidly. From AI and automation to big data and digital disruption, there are so many disrupters impacting business. In less than a decade, workplaces may look very different. With that in mind, we can expect leadership to shift dramatically too. So, with the landscape for businesses changing so rapidly, what can we expect the future leaders to look like? Furthermore, what can leaders do now to set up future leaders for success?

Preparing For 2030

When talking about future leaders, the marker is the year 2030. By 2030, just nine years away, we will have seen wave after wave of disruptive influences making up the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Industry 4.0 is heavily focused on technology, with many senior leaders believing that the digitally connected world will be the biggest force to change leadership in the next decade.

Other significant change-makers will be the increasing use of artificial intelligence, automation, robotics, machine learning and big data.

With such a focus on technology, there is an increasing demand in seeking out leaders who can balance the need for sophisticated technology within the business alongside the human needs of their teams.

Creating this balance of humanity and technology requires a refined set of skills for future leaders. In this post, we’ll explore the makeup of future leaders and what it will mean to thrive in digitally disrupted workplaces.

Ten Key Skills Of Future Leaders

1.     Blend and Balance

The key skill for future leaders will be understanding how to blend and balance both the human nature of the business with the efficiencies of technology. Driving a purpose-led business with care, compassion, and a human-centred approach will be essential. However, with the rise of automation, creating a sense of priority for your human workforce and developing a sense of harmony between people and technology is vital.

For future businesses, a blend of technology and the human touch will be essential for success. Working out the ways to allow both to thrive without compensating one for the other will require a delicate balance. A leader who can tap into this blending and balancing role can help businesses to make their mark.

2.     Forward Thinking

Technology, digitisation and workplace disrupters can all play out and unfold in many different and unexpected ways. A strong leader will be someone who can use their futurist perspective to consider multiple scenarios that may play out. Furthermore, they will keep their ear to the ground when it comes to emerging trends and stay involved and connected with relevant networks to keep ahead of the game with their forward-thinking.

3.     Expert Explorer

It requires a particular skillset to embrace the unknown rather than fear it, which could be critical for future leaders. Future leaders may be expected to forge ahead to explore the next steps for the business. This means being open to new ideas and being ready to embrace change as the world evolves.

One of the best mindsets to have for this is curiosity. By being curious without expectation about what lies ahead can help to maintain this explorative approach.

4.     Compassionate Coach

The human element of organisations will continue to grow in prevalence and will continue to make a competitive difference for businesses. This means future leaders will need to ensure that their team becomes their focus. It will be a leader’s role to coach, motivate, inspire and engage. The best coaching leaders will be the ones that develop team members to reach their highest potential. This often means creating a supportive environment where you encourage people to succeed higher than your own markers.

A critical skill in being a compassionate coach is to appreciate the uniqueness of every individual you work with and offer a level of care and compassion that puts human needs first.

5.     Master Communicator

When developing teams for the future, leaders will need to draw on their communication skills. Developing both verbal and non-verbal communication, as well as acute and active listening, can help future leaders to cut through the noise and deliver the messages that matter most.

Already communication and listening are considered pillars of leadership. However, we can expect this to increase as leadership becomes further human-centred.

6.     Lead From Within

Another skill we can expect from future leaders is the feeling that leaders are there in the mix, helping to support their customers and teams as well as their leaders and themselves. A crucial element of this is to understand all angles and be able to support with empathy and understanding. This is not about striking out in front but understanding where you need to be to best serve those around you.

7.     Be A Tech-Savvy Teen

Teenagers are often the first to adopt new technologies and digital trends. They are open to exploring new options and will pick up new approaches with relative ease. Embracing this tech-savvy teen approach can make technology more approachable and enable you to better leverage emerging technology to put you ahead of the game.

Developing and maintaining digital fluency will also help with other skills such as balancing the human/technological elements of your business.

8.     Adaptive And Responsive

Agility has long been a requirement for leaders, and this will continue as we see new waves of digital disrupters. Being adaptable means that you’ll have access to a deeper awareness and different ways of thinking, enabling you to experiment and change course as necessary. Keeping a fresh perspective helps leaders to better understand how their team and customers think too.

9.     Emotional Intelligence

Leading with self-awareness and empathy is crucial for building and leading diverse and inclusive teams. It will be crucial for future leaders to build connections and create safe environments in which their teams can thrive. With this approach, leaders can fully understand and empathise with the feelings of others.

Another benefit of this approach is a full awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses and creating a space where it feels safe for both leaders and team members to be vulnerable.

10.  Embracing Global Citizenship

With an increasingly connected world, future leaders will become global citizens who can embrace diversity and lead far-reaching teams. Future leaders will be able to create worldwide teams with the know-how and adaptability of global markets, cultures and perspectives.

It will be important to focus on diversity and inclusion and celebrate the versatility and range of knowledge that every team member has to offer.

Creating Future Leaders

With such a far-reaching set of skills expected of future leaders, a range of development options will be required. From coaching and personal development to micro-credentials, communication courses and postgraduate studying, future leaders will be able to draw upon a range of experiences and development opportunities to create a successful, impactful future.


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