Critical Skills for Leaders to be Successful Today & into the Future

Posted on 27 Jun

Future-proofing your Leaders

Content provided by Emma Spada, provisional psychologist.

Our world is constantly changing and changing faster and more often than it has ever before. Our recent research (Leadership 2025: A local perspective) identified the drivers of change likely to impact Australian leaders and their organisations and determined the leadership skills required for organisations to thrive, versus just survive, today and into the future.

So, what’s changing?

Technology. Advances in technology are constantly saturating our personal and professional lives. We’ve got this massive influx of smart machines and systems that are changing the fundamental aspects of businesses – their people and processes.

Mobility. Global mobility is now essential for business success. The free movement of talent will maintain a competitive advantage for many organisations, leveraging and mobilising skills, talents, and competencies anywhere around the business, or around the globe, ay any time, when and where they’re needed.

Globalisation. The internet, smart phones, tablets, laptops and video communications currently provide instantaneous communications to anyone, anywhere, anytime, providing insight into just how readily connected our world will be by 2025.

Flexibility. Organisations need to foster an agile, flexible workforce to keep up with our ever-changing world. Flexibility is crucial to an organisation’s ability to develop and align their current, and future, workforce with strategic business goals.

Longevity. The proportion of over 65’s was 4% in 1901. It is projected to increase to 25% by 2101! These changes, reflected in our ageing population, are increasing the diversity experienced within our workplaces, particularly as we find more “millennials” and “baby boomers” working alongside each other.

Related blog: The importance of Abstract Reasoning for leaders

Are you prepared for this change?

While 63% of executives surveyed felt they were prepared and very prepared for the future world of work, only 44% said their organisation were prepared and very prepared and even fewer executives (37%) felt their leadership team were prepared or very prepared.

What skills do leaders require to be successful now and into the future?

Our research found 6 critical skills for leaders:


In our research, People Management skills were rated the TOP most important leadership skill to have within the next 5-7 years. While this seems a core skill for current leaders, our results found People Management skills were rated second in terms of currently requiring development in leaders.


What used to be considered a “soft” skill or “nice-to-have”, EI has increasingly gained attention in its ability to assist leaders in better understanding how to lead their diverse teams. From our research, we found EI is the number one skill currently lacking in leaders today!

Why? Because leadership of the future is not just about simply eliciting outcomes and results but involves achieving this through a range of various people, who may not be direct reports. It’s about negotiating in a manner that influences, inspires, motivates and engages others.

Knowing how to PROBLEM SOLVE

Heading into the future, will you be required to solve ambiguous problems without clear answers. As leaders, you will be constantly required to organise a vast amount of data and information based on its importance and relevance to make decisions in the context of ongoing organisational activities and priorities.


Along with being multidisciplinary (technical skilled in several areas), leaders will also need to be situationally adaptable and strategically responsive to unique and unexpected circumstances in any given moment.


A leader who anticipates, recognises, and meets the needs of their customers and their followers, often before those needs have been articulated. Are your leaders capable of understanding and evaluating the economic, behavioural, and social shifts that drivers of change are creating? Furthermore, can they understand and evaluate the impact these shifts are having at a global, industry, organisational and individual level? As a leader with service orientation skills they will be able to formulate successful business strategies by innovatively transforming the workplace, its processes, and its people.


Our White Paper presents key findings from our research into workplace trends and leadership skills of the future. It outlines key drivers of change, as well as core leadership skills in greater depth. Receive a copy of our White Paper – Leadership 2025: A local perspective today.  Find out more about our leadership coaching services too.



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