The Essential Qualities of Future-Fit Leaders in an Era of Skill Disruption

September 1, 2023 | Reskilling Your Workforce | 5 min read

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023 presents a unique picture of what the workforce might look like over the next five years. Here are three key findings from the report to note as your organization prepares for the future:

  • Employers estimate that 44% of workers’ skills will be disrupted in the next five years.
  • Six in 10 workers will require training before 2027, but only half of workers are seen to have access to adequate training opportunities today.
  • To meet business goals, survey respondents reported that investing in learning and on-the-job training and automating processes are the most common workforce strategies

Developing and nurturing key leadership competencies will help organizations cultivate a strong pipeline of leaders who can drive innovation, adapt to disruption, and guide their teams to sustainable success. Learn how to build a scalable coaching program in your organization.

Explore the Skills Necessary for the Future of Work

According to the World Economic Forum (WEF), eight of the top 10 skills that will be required at work in 2030 are coachable personal and interpersonal skills.

And while your organization may have its own idea of the specific competencies required to lead in your industry, here are the leadership competencies that most future-fit leaders will share:

Analytical Thinking

Analytical thinking empowers future-fit leaders to understand, assess, and respond to the dynamic challenges and opportunities that arise due to disruptions in skills, technology, and markets. By honing their analytical thinking skills, your organization’s leaders can navigate uncertainty with confidence and guide your business toward success.

Creative Thinking

Creative thinking equips future-fit leaders with the tools to navigate uncertainty, drive innovation, and envision a path forward in complex and ambiguous situations. It allows them to transcend traditional boundaries and cultivate a culture of exploration and growth within your organization.

Resilience, Flexibility, Agility

Resilience, flexibility, and agility create a well-rounded skill set that equips future-fit leaders to thrive amidst uncertainty and disruption. Resilience means adapting to change, managing stress and maintaining well-being, and understanding the emotions of yourself and your team. Flexibility is being open to new ideas and diverse perspectives and exploring multiple solutions to problems. Agile leaders can make informed decisions quickly, even in ambiguous situations. They prioritize learning and growth and empower their teams to take ownership of tasks and make decisions.

Motivation and Self-Awareness

Motivation and self-awareness contribute to a leader’s ability to inspire, adapt, and foster a positive work environment, ultimately leading to improved performance and sustainable growth. Motivated leaders inspire others, persevere, encourage creative thinking and risk taking, and align their team’s efforts with organizational goals. They understand their communication style and how it impacts others, recognize their own biases, and actively seek feedback.

Curiosity and Lifelong Learning

Future-fit workers are curious. They are open to acquiring new knowledge and skills, seeking out diverse perspectives and unconventional solutions, and critically examine situations by asking probing questions. They tend to lead by example, adapt well to uncertainty, and develop strong skills in discerning credible information from noise.

Dependability and Attention to Detail

Dependability and attention to detail are vital skills for future-fit leaders because they contribute to building trust, ensuring quality, and maintaining organizational efficiency in a rapidly changing and competitive environment. Leaders who carefully analyze details are better equipped to spot vulnerabilities or potential risks in projects, strategies, or operations.

Empathy and Active Listening

Empathy and active listening are crucial skills for future-fit leaders because they foster strong relationships, effective communication, and a deeper understanding of the diverse perspectives that drive modern workplaces. As organizations become more globally interconnected and diverse, leaders who possess these skills can create inclusive environments, enhance collaboration, and navigate complex challenges with sensitivity and insight.

Leadership and Social Influence

Leadership and social influence enable individuals to guide organizations through change, inspire their teams, and drive positive impact in an increasingly interconnected and dynamic world.

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Developing Core Competencies Through Coaching

Given that only half of all workers report having adequate training opportunities to develop these core competencies, what is the best way to upskill/reskill your employees to help them prepare for the future of work?

Therein lies the power of coaching.

Research conducted by SAP HR found a positive correlation between coaching and career outcomes, including higher compensation, more promotions, greater job satisfaction, and increased belief in career advancement.

When an organization invests in coaching its employees, it sends a powerful message that every individual's personal growth and talents are valuable. Coaches are meant to challenge assumptions, to transcend blind spots, help gain new awareness and broaden perspectives, and empower individuals to overcome obstacles and make authentic shifts in their behaviors to align with their intentions.

Employees can work closely with expert coaches through personalized coaching to define their goals and align leadership strategies with their professional development. And Skillsoft Coaching offers many options for learning and growth, including:

  • 1:1 Coaching can help accelerate the development of leadership competencies across your organization. It can be tailored to individual employees (from the executive team to individual contributors) and customized to the competencies they need to be effective.
  • Specialized Coaching focuses on developing skills relevant to specific circumstances. With strategic pathways focused on women in leadership, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and new leaders, your team can learn the key competencies shared by effective leaders in these areas. Hear directly from Skillsoft Coaches in the new Coaching Corner 15-minute webinar series, where they dive into the core competencies every contributor needs to be successful.
  • Group Coaching is delivered to small groups within your organization who need to learn a particular skill or competency. Learn how Pudget Sound Energy (PSE), a utility company in Washington state, delivers coaching one-on-one and in small groups.

Coaching supports your team as they work to achieve their goals, maximize their potential, and enhance their performance. And it is no longer reserved exclusively for the C-suite. In fact, coaching helps in the development of all employees, from individual contributors to executives. It is a flexible and adaptable process that can be tailored to the specific needs and objectives of each team member.

If you’re looking to develop a coaching program at scale, Skillsoft Coaching can help.