Have You Noticed A Need For New Leadership Qualities?
Randy Wolken, President & CEO
The pandemic has changed a lot in our lives. This seems to also be true of what we want from our leaders. As a result, a new set of highly desired qualities being demonstrated by top companies are worth noting. Each year Korn Ferry, The Wall Street Journal, and Drucker Institute partner to review the performance of the top publicly traded companies. They are evaluated on critical characteristics identified by Drucker Institute through an extensive survey. This comprehensive survey offers vital insights into what top leadership qualities are desired now and how they have changed since the pandemic’s beginning.
In 2020, and before the pandemic, the top five leadership competencies were: to build effective teams, drive engagement, communicate effectively, collaborate, and cultivate innovation. In 2022, and after two years of the pandemic, only collaborate remains in the top five competencies. The other four most valuable attributes have been updated to global perspective, manages ambiguity, interpersonal savvy, and instills trust. So much has changed with what is seen as crucial capabilities companies seek from their leaders.
The global perspective has never been more critical. Pandemics, and our economy, are global. Leaders must take into account how their organizations will thrive in this context. Managing ambiguity and instilling trust make sense as top priorities for leaders now. The last two years have shown us we need these more than ever. When leaders instill trust within an organization, team members will work together to confront critical issues. High levels of trust allow an organization to move quickly and with confidence. We also need leaders to effectively manage the ambiguity that is present in our places of work and in our lives. I see this capability as a top priority because the world will not get simpler and more straightforward. Managing ambiguity in such situations is a huge asset for any organization.
Interpersonal savvy was the one that I had to think hard about when I saw it rise into the top five desired competencies. It makes sense as a complement to the other top four competencies. A person skilled at interpersonal relationships will be able to bring their global perspective to the conversation. They will also be able to work with others as they navigate ambiguity, collaborate, and instill trust.
I am sure more will be written about how leadership has changed due to us all experiencing the pandemic. It is wise to understand what has changed and what has stayed the same concerning leadership. As always, I am interested in what you are experiencing. What new needs, traits, or capabilities have you witnessed recently? As a student of leadership, I remain committed to learning and sharing these insights with members.