What do leaders really think about these times of change?

Leadership competencies of the future

There are those that are concerned and those that don’t know what to expect.

Well, that is a bit black and white… of course there are all sorts of attitudes towards the changes in leadership competencies. However a few patters emerge in our work with managers and leaders of all industries. At a recent conference of about 100 senior leaders in a multitude of leading corporations in Germany we discussed how digitalisation and other society-induced developments will lead to new ways of leading.

What do we mean by digital competencies? Note, this is not just how to use certain technological tools. Rather more, companies need a new culture of leadership. The leaders confirmed unanimously that a key consideration is to be attractive as an employer! The way teams collaborate, the purpose individuals experience in their work and the approach leaders take to get the most out of individual strengths. At the same time, leaders at all levels face a major challenge… whilst they need to learn the new ways of working themselves, get used to a fundamental mindset shift, get themselves up-to-speed with technology and keep abreast of their company’s strategy they are expected to act as role model and driver of the transformation, inspiring their teams. No easy task! The structural work conditions currently change dramatically in practically all companies, whether big or small. Examples include global and virtual teams, increasing need to use collaboration platforms, demand for flexibility in time and place of work, speed and complexity.

Here are the top competencies leaders will need according to conference participants:

  • Communication
  • Social skills
  • Sensitivity
  • Instinct and strategic outlook
  • Functional know-how o
  • Staying cool ;-)

Our conference session was far too short to go into detail of how to assist leaders in preparing for the future. But it has become clear that individuals and organisations need to pay attention to the urgently necessary upgrade of competencies today.