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Leadership training: What are the most important leadership skills of the future?

With new technologies, geographic expansion and the increase in flexible working and the gig economy, the workforce is continually changing. Add to this, a diverse range of ages and backgrounds with different needs and styles of working, and there is no doubt that leadership skills have to reflect these changes.

To do this effectively, future leaders need highly interactive and experiential leadership training which focuses on how to react to challenging situations in a world full of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (VUCA). The experiential component is crucial, since it engages participants and therefore aids their retention of new information and skills. Experiential leadership training also shows and authenticates which leadership skills are effective by using business stimulation.

We’d all like a crystal ball in these unpredictable times, but one thing we can be sure of is the need for strong leaders. With so many organisations now addressing skill gaps and future-proofing their business, what are the leadership skills of the future that can give you an edge in today’s marketplace?

Inclusive leadership

Inclusion is a deliberate characteristic that every leader needs to embody, with the skills it entails becoming a rule rather than an exception. An Inclusive Leadership programme can teach this expertise. The benefits of inclusive leadership include:

  • Innovation
  • Employee retention
  • Better decision-making
  • Financial gains

Understanding, levering and appreciating diversity is critical for leadership today and in the future.

A fluid and agile approach

‘We must all obey the great law of change. It’s the most powerful law of nature,’ wrote Edmund Burke.

This will ring true for future leaders as they face constant updates in technology and the rate of change continues to accelerate. As development speeds up, leaders don’t just need to manage the consequences – future leaders need to encourage transition and help their employees to adapt to it.

Staying ahead in any industry means that it is crucial that leaders embrace change to remain competitive.

Accountability

Positive accountability leads to a culture of transparency, trust, engagement and increased productivity. As a result, employees feel invested in the company’s success.

By contrast, low levels of trust can contribute to low morale and defensive attitudes leading to a decrease in productivity.

Leaders need to earn respect from their team each day.

Empathy and emotional intelligence

Empathy and emotional intelligence are critical for managing a successful team. Empathy allows the leader to put themselves in someone else’s situation, leading to better decision making. Research has found this leads to happier, more engaged staff.

Emotional intelligence will allow leaders to stay in control and calmly assess situations. Some experts believe that emotional intelligence is the key to staying relevant in the future workplace as human connection is the one thing that technology can’t replace.

Flexibility

As flexible working increases, and technology takes over many job roles, many believe that the 9-5, five days a week office hours will disappear in the future.

Richard Branson wrote about this in his blog post saying that the idea of working five days a week with two day weekends and set time for holidays each year wasn’t always the case, but has become ingrained in society, and ‘won’t be in the future.’

So future leaders need to be more flexible too, embracing technology as an aid and working much more efficiently in a shorter number of hours.

Listening skills

As the pace of technological change accelerates, offices are changing in their communications. Team chat tools like Slack provide instant messaging, enabling efficient business communication. However, they also potentially replace colleagues talking to each other face-to-face and with that comes less opportunity for listening. Future leaders must make sure that they factor in regular time to listen to their staff and to their clients to stay ahead of the curve.

An expansive mindset

It is vital that future leaders understand that they can create positive change to help others and programmes like Leading Through Impact provide an immersive and inspiring experience will help leaders to gain a higher purpose and expansive mindset.

Leaders must inspire their employees to make a difference, giving them a sense of meaning, and drawing their support.

Authenticity

As more companies are being called out by employees, the more vital authenticity in leadership is becoming to attract and retain employees. Authenticity encompasses openness and trustworthiness and in being authentic leaders can better communicate with employees, gaining their respect and faithfulness to the company and brand.

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