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What Skills Will Leaders Need In The Future?

Do you think about what skills will leaders need in the future? Here at SVC, we are constantly taking the pulse of this and other key leadership issues with our clients and people we meet when networking.  (9 Minute Read).

Are Today's Leaders Ready For The Future? 

Most business leaders we speak to agree that business issues have become more complex in the new world of work. The after-effects of Brexit, the global health pandemic, and the impact of war on Ukraine have created the need for fresh thinkingbold leadership, and transformation.

Indeed, you may have recognised the need to make some effective strategic changes to your company and adapt to external forces. But do you have your team(s) inspired, excited, and motivated by effective leaders with the right skills for the future? Also, do you know the right leadership changes to make for the future of your business?

Quote by Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein

"The problems we have created cannot be solved with the same level of thinking on which they were created.”

The skills issues for leaders are many. Of course, all companies need great or effective leaders with the right skills. Certainly, handling known problems such as attracting and retaining employees and the successful performance of your managers and team(s) takes resilient leaders.

But how does this affect what skills will leaders need in the future and the new world of work? Generally, leadership also means unlocking your team's skills, potential and sustaining individual and team morale in a time of uncertainty.

Indeed, some refer not only to the new world of work, but with the pace of technology and environmental issues such as climate change, the future may need a new industrial revolution. Undoubtedly, leadership must change.

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We Asked - What Skills Will Leaders Need in The Future?

So, looking forward to the future, it means embracing a new world in which technology will play a much bigger part. Of course, technology will continue to advance but there will also be a skills-shift in the generations at work.

Thus, as Baby Boomers and early Gen X shift into retirement, senior business leaders will be those who were weaned on recent technology. Overall, as roles have begun to change in the last few years, future roles may not yet be defined. So, the issue of what skills will leaders need in the future, will continue to evolve.

What Skills Will Leaders Need In The Future for Transformation?

Change, indeed transformation is essential. So when asking "what skills will leaders need in the future?", we should first look at the difference between transformational and transactional leadership. Basically, each is a different type of leader.

Since many well-established organisation leaders are transactional, their leadership focus is on processes to maintain and improve current performance. Such leaders mostly work within their existing organisational culture.

On the other hand, transformational leadership embraces visionary thinking to bring about change. Such leaders can bring about culture change within an organisation with significant results. Consequently, with the significant national and global issues affecting companies and their employees, technological advancement, and environmental and cultural change, transformational leadership seems to be the way forward.

You as a Future Leader

Your business vision should be a realistic, convincing, and attractive portrayal of where you want to be in the future. Becoming a leader creating such a vision for your organisation means starting with:

  • A thorough skills and competence review
  • Strategic business analysis about the political, economic, socio-cultural, technological and environmental factors.
  • An effective analysis of your current situation (including SWOT analysis).

However, there is more when undertaking strategic planning which is crucial. To illustrate, if you don't know where you are now, the path you take toward where you need to be in the future is unclear.

Indeed, as a future leader you must consider how your industry and people will change and likely evolve. For example, who will be your best-fit customers, and what will your competitive landscape look like (and the challenges to overcome). In other words, determine how you and fellow leaders can innovate, shape, and transform your business and strategies to succeed in future marketplaces.

What Skills Will Leaders Need In The Future

Therefore, when it comes to what skills will people and leaders need in the future, a crucial skill is that leaders will also need to be forward-thinking problem solvers. Indeed, you may not be happy with how things are now but must look ahead. However, your skills must develop so that your leadership depicts what the future will look like for your people and your organisation.

Furthermore, you will need to see the emerging technological impact on your employees, enable their training and development for the right skills, and create new roles for new emerging technologies. Also you will need to inspire and explain your vision in ways your employees and other stakeholders can understand.

What Skills Will Leaders Need in The Future for Shared Values?          

To develop an organisation and team, leaders must become masters of and understand team dynamics. Thus, you must know exactly how to get the best out of individuals and a team. Also, you need to ensure that employees have the necessary skills and abilities to do their job and achieve your vision.

Significantly, future leaders will be comfortable with researching, analytical and planning, with the passion for shared values with team members. Thus, you will create a culture and working environment that is meaningful for your team members.

So, your company purpose will need to evolve, and you must be the leader to drive this.

Motivation During Transformational Change

Undoubtedly, it will be challenging to keep your vision inspiring. Indeed, the initial momentum and enthusiasm can wane, especially if your team(s) or entire company need to make significant changes. But as a future leader you will recognise that as much as half of your team members are likely to be uncomfortable with change.

Therefore, to break the comfort zone, you must connect your vision with individuals' particular skills, training needs, goals, and aspirations. Basically, the top-down do-this approach is doomed to fail; people immediately think "what's in it for me"?

What Future Leadership Training Works Best?

You probably realise that you need to go through leadership training, but you may be wondering what route to take. So, here's a spoiler alert: not all leadership training is effective.

Of course, appropriate future leadership training can lead to great results and arm you with excellent leadership qualities. Consequently, with the right support you will enjoy significantly improved enthusiasm, teamworking, collaboration and business performance.

However, preparing and developing your own leadership and that of other future leaders, is unlikely to come from off-the-shelf or old-school PowerPoint-driven training. Indeed, to consider what skills will leaders need in the future and how to achieve this, consider your need for a more motivated, inspired, and productive workforce which has unique criteria.

In this case, it is unique since each individual has a distinctive personality, character, skills, strengths and areas for improvement. In addition, your business has its specific needs and expected leadership outcomes.

Therefore, your training needs analysis must assess at a minimum:

  • Your business needs; and
  • Each individual's needs, skills, preparedness and suitability.

Thus, leadership training on its own may not be sufficient for your needs.

Example Training Approach

  • To illustrate, SVC Training's skills-based leadership training is practical and hands-on for ongoing learning and implementation. Indeed, it constantly evolves with best practice, client needs, and our continued experience in leadership of our own companies.
  • Similarly, the delegate development programme comes from a mix of our coaching and mentoring expertise. 
  • Consequently, the combination of our training and development embeds the learning which leads to more outstanding success.

Source: SVC Training, Leaders for The Future

So, whatever training provider you choose, make sure that they will assess your needs and deliver an appropriate programme.

Becoming a Future Leader Is Now a Reality.

What Skills Will Leaders Need in The Future?

What Skills Will Leaders Need In The Future? Training future leaders

Leaders For the Future Training and Development Slots are Available

Identifying Candidates for Leadership Training

Of course, leadership training for the future may be ideal for existing experienced leaders with the skills, characteristics and being willing to adapt.

But what skills will leaders need in the future if entering into training they have little or no formal leadership / management training? That is not a problem, as long has the individual has the right personal characteristics, they will learn the skills to take their first steps into a leadership role.

Remember that whilst leadership often comes from management, excellent management skills do not necessarily make for outstanding or good leadership! 

"Management is doing things right;

leadership is doing the right things.”

Peter F. Drucker

Leadership Training for the Future - Outcomes

So, what skills will you (and fellow leaders) need in the future you can obtain through effective training?          

Generally, with training and development on an appropriate programme for future leaders, you should look to gain the necessary skills, knowledge, and confidence in key skill areas.

The Top 12 Essential Skills Leaders Need For The Future

The following 12 skills for future leadership are some of the key areas that we often see where leaders need further development. Please note you may excel at some of these, and this list is are of a general nature.

The list is general because SVC Training and Development Needs Analysis takes into account the needs of you and your company, and individual delegate improvement areas. So the following represents the areas of improvement that we identify the most.

1. Play to Your Strengths

A self-review of personal attributes, current effectiveness, and individual steps for development. Individual and team performance will depend significantly on your ability to motivate your workforce, communicate effectively, and inspire confidence in others. A psychometric assessment can discover your leadership characteristics and improvement areas essential for success in the role.

2. Solicit Feedback

Work relationships aren't always easy to navigate, and how well you get along with your co-workers can significantly impact your influence. You will need to give and receive feedback, whether it's about something big or small.

3. Self-Awareness

Understanding your own behaviour and emotions is essential when looking at how you treat the people around you. You must know how to take positive measures to become self-aware, ask the right questions, and listen effectively to the responses.

4. Positivity

It is essential to have, or develop, the fundamental belief that you can change and improve things. Your future leadership and positivity can hugely affect employee motivation and even the overall success of your company.

5. Develop a Vision and Goals

Future leadership is about transformational change and improvement. In the business world, that means constant adjustments to the work environment.

Many team members will be motivated by your company's vision and goals. Employees who know what they're working towards tend to be more productive than those who don't.

A clear understanding of the results of their efforts will help everyone stay motivated and help them understand where their actions fit into the bigger picture.

6. Leading by Example

The necessity of setting an example for the team and effectively demonstrating a solid work ethic is key to being a leader. It is an essential part of proving your leadership ability in the workplace.

Also, it's a great way to show work colleagues and stakeholders that you're eager to get results and that you are passionate about the quality of your work.

7. Be Inclusive

As a leader, you play a crucial role in creating a culture of inclusivity and diversity at your company. If you're not careful, you risk alienating people who feel like they don't belong. So develop a simple approach to value input from all team members to establish a personal approach to inclusiveness. A diverse team will create a better product, make more money, and be happier overall.

8. Manage Negativity

Negativity kills harmony in the workplace. It is a problem that affects everyone. It poisons the atmosphere and can infect even the happiest of employees.

The result can be low productivity and high staff turnover, which is costly to your business.

The most important thing to remember when dealing with negativity in the workplace is that it won't improve on its own. Know how to recognise it and deal with it.

9. Delegation

Make sure you and your team know what success looks like in that task, the priorities involved in getting there, who else will be involved and what their responsibility is.

Also, make sure your team understand the whole scope of work. Communicate your expectations to others, so they know what you need from them.

Then, check in with your team members throughout the process to ensure they're on track with their responsibilities. If not, guide them so they can get back into alignment.

10. Continuous Improvement

Every successful business needs a way to continuously improve. Of course, with new challenges and technologies, you need to identify new opportunities. Furthermore, you will need to regularly review your business processes and methods to drive improvement.

So, this may seem simple, but many companies stagnate, or worse fail, because they don't do this! Therefore, encourage your employees to see what can be improved using their knowledge, skills and expertise.

Some things will improve naturally over time as the business evolves, but you will realise that future opportunities require an active effort to implement change.

11. Problem Solving

You will need to utilise a simple way to explore innovative ideas for a reasoned solution to manage problems as they arise. Your key to problem-solving is to have a clear goal in mind. 

If you know what you're trying to achieve, it'll be much easier to figure out how to get there! Remember that great leaders are great problem solvers.

12. Life-long Development

To be a leader for the future means you must become an active and passionate student of your industry. So looking at what skills will leaders need in the future, you will now see that the skills you learn will continuously develop.

With so many ways to learn something new (e.g. books, conferences, online courses, and podcasts), there's no excuse to be out-of-date on your field of expertise.

Active participation keeps you up-to-date with best industry practices and lets you stay current with industry trends affecting your company's bottom line.


What if you become better equipped with the leadership skills you will need for the future? Specifically, will it make a difference to you and your business?

Things You Need To Excel at

You will need to excel at the following:

  • Inspire your team members for peak performance.
  • Resolve business issues with everyone involved collaborating.
  • Unite individuals around a shared vision, continuously developing a consensus to transform.
  • Respect and value everyone through the creation of a positive work environment.
  • Be a better, more productive leader through improved self-awareness.
  • Improve staff retention by motivating teams and individuals.
  • Acknowledge the need for team members' self-worth and that their contribution has a purpose.
  • Accomplish business success with greater efficiency and productivity.
  • Become an expert in your industry to develop your strategic thinking.
  • Embrace and promote technological, environmental, social and governance standards.
  • Understand your customers’ future needs and the competitive landscape.
  • Develop a more sustainable future and competitive advantage.

Summing up, getting ready to become a leader for the future means (amongst other things), research, mastery of your industry, plus effective and appropriate leadership training and development. Therefore, our advice is to choose your support partners wisely!

Get Help With Future Leadership

SVC Training can provide you and your team with skills-based courses and development programmes to help you and your business. For a no-obligation confidential chat about how can help your company:

  • Message us privately by using the Contact Us button below.
  • Or call us on 01206 262117.

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