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Discover the 5 Most Critical Skills for Leaders

By Jim Kauffman, Ph.D.

Jim KauffmanIn speaking with leaders at a number of organizations recently, I have heard insights to the effect of “What made me successful up to now isn’t working any longer. I can’t solve problems the way I used to before. I need new skills.”

But what are the new skills that leaders need to be successful today and in the future? Our Global Leadership Forecast, which surveyed nearly 2,000 HR professionals and over 12,000 leaders around the world, found the following:

The 5 Most Critical Skills for Mid-level Leaders
As you can see, driving and managing change will remain the number one priority for leaders over the next three years. The vast majority of organizations surveyed are in the process of changing their business models and services, going global, or looking for ways to be more competitive.

Coaching remains a critical skill for leaders as workforces stay lean and a premium is placed on top talent. And it’s hard to imagine a time when executing organizational strategy will not be critical.

But one of the skills that rose to the top of the list that wasn’t as critical in the past three years is identifying and developing talent. The leaders of tomorrow will need to be talent scouts, always on the lookout for the best internal and external talent. And once they find them, they will need to accelerate their development.

Fostering creativity and innovation is another new priority rising to the top of the list. The number of leaders citing innovation as a critical skill increased more than for any other skill. Innovation has become a mantra for many organizations as they shift from a recessionary, cost-cutting mind-set to a competitive one.

In sum, the strength of leadership capability is a primary determinant of an organization’s ability to execute its business strategy. If organizations want to be successful, they must take stock of the current readiness of their leaders with regard to these critical skill sets, and develop them to meet business needs sooner.

Are you having the same experience? Share what challenges you’re facing in the blog comments.

Jim Kauffman is an executive consultant at DDI.

Posted: 03 Jul, 2013,
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