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The Three Most Important Skills for Future Leaders

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The Three Most Important Skills for Future Leaders

Leaders today may not hold the same type of jobs in the next couple of decades. Even though it may be difficult to predict what these different roles will look like, there are definite strategies leaders can take to prepare for all the changes.

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Thomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Jonathan Kirschner present the most critical skills for leading in a future workplace:

“The World Economic Forum predicts that 65% of today’s jobs will no longer be around in 15 years.  This means that leaders cannot place too much emphasis on the current educational curriculum, which is primarily designed to prepare people for present, rather than future, jobs. While we may not be able to guess what those jobs will be, it is clear that people will be more equipped to do them if they have certain soft skills, such as emotional intelligence, drive, and learnability.”

Here are some steps for leaders to attain skills in emotional intelligence, drive and learnability:

1. Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Becoming a self-aware leader is the first way to gain a handle on your EI abilities. Before a leader can understand the emotions of others and cultivate strong work relationships, they need to identify their own strengths and blind spots. Assessments such as Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) or DiSC, can be a great starting point for many. These tools can bring to light a leader’s gifts and talents as well as areas they may want to grow. By recognizing where we excel and areas we may not be as strong, we can face future job situations and relationships armed.

Leadership Tip: Reach out to a coach to both conduct an assessment as well as help you recognize your areas of strength and possible areas to grow. This doesn’t need to be a long process but rather an opportunity to understand your unique work style. Alternatively, contact your HR department to either work internally with you or ask to bring in a qualified leadership skills trainer or coach.

2. Drive

What gets us out of bed in the morning to face the uncertainties of our day? What excites us to creatively perform or try new opportunities? Keying into what motivates us to take the extra step or to go beyond our comfort zone will be essential to a future job. For some leaders it may be about researching new data while others may be motivated by connecting with innovative teams. Whatever propels us forward today will likely be a force to move us into the future.

Leadership Tip: Reflect on what truly excites you in the workplace and in your personal life. Then take that energy and integrate it into every aspect of your current job. Play with it. Drill down what specific actions you take to fulfill that motivation within you.

Understanding what excites leaders in their current jobs will help them pivot more successfully in future workplaces.

3. Learnability

Whether or not we want to accept it, being able to pivot with agility will be an important leadership skill for future success. Many leaders in my workshops become overwhelmed with the constant nature of change. Sometimes their customer demands seem relentless as they scurry to make adjustments in nanoseconds. They are moved from one team to another with little training or knowledge of their new responsibilities. What leaders have come to realize is that staying in one place or one company is short lived. That means they must be able to learn new skills and gain experience rapidly.

Leadership Tip: To stay relevant and pivot to new work situations quickly leaders must become lifelong learners. Staying open-minded, curious and willing to add new skills to your leadership toolbox is paramount. One helpful way to grow your skills is to ask for stretch assignments or even partner with different departments. Also if you are in your own business keep up with the trends through reading, attending conferences and collaborating with others. Keep evolving.

For leaders to stay relevant and ready for future job opportunities they need to be a lifelong learner.

What other skills do you see as important for future leadership positions?

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