It’s Time to Change Our Mindsets About Leadership Skills

Steven Howard

Leadership Skills


Our Thinking on the Skills Leaders Need Requires Updating and Enhancing


We cannot go back to the pre-pandemic methods of leadership, decision-making, and what constitutes leadership skills. The world has changed too drastically since March 2020. Hybrid work and working from home are now acceptable (and for many desirable) alternatives to the five-day, show-up-at-the-workplace workweek. And the need for more inclusive decision-making and leadership has never been greater.


Additionally, the rapid technological advancements of recent years have made it impossible for individuals and organizations to predict what technical skills will be needed in the future. However, it is obvious that the so-called “soft skills” are now mandatory for organizational and personal success.


These are now Essential Skills. Or you may think of them as Powerful Skills. The skills for leadership success in the future are not technical; they are behavioral. And these skills are far from soft. In fact, they are highly multifaceted, take months to inculcate and learn how to apply, and are continuously evolving in scope and implementation. These skills are a complex collection of mindsets, capabilities, experiences, and personal attributes


Undoubtedly, too many companies and organizations face a future in which their current business models are obsolete. As are their leadership practices and behaviors. Additionally, their leadership bench strength is woefully inadequate, ill-equipped, and significantly undertrained to handle the challenges and opportunities they will encounter.


Leadership Skills

The leadership skills needed for the post-pandemic period include a greater emphasis on ten core skills:
Emotional Intelligence
Empathy combined with Compassion
Dealing with Uncertainty and Ambiguity
Relationship Management
Cooperative Collaboration
Wellbeing & Stress Management
Lifelong Learning (for both self and others)


These skills are now urgent. They are no longer optional. They are no longer “nice to have” skills in your leadership tool bag. They are now mandatory. At all levels of all organizations.


Future success means putting people before results. This does not mean a focus on people instead of results. Just a shift in priorities. Leaders must become people-centric first, then results driven.


We also need to redefine what “success” means and looks like, with the new definition requiring much more than financial results. Organizational success must now include creating new structures and sustainable working environments incorporating hybrid and work-from-home (WFH) scenarios, agility, and adaptability. They must also become places that support and enhance mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. This is what future success entails.


Creativity, innovation, communication, and adaptation remain critical to forging strong organizations and robust economies. These will not be brought forth by artificial intelligence, the metaverse, or outdated leadership mantras and mindsets. Only an empowered and motivated human workforce can create these. As such, being fundamentally human and people-centric as a leader has never been more essential in the workplace.


Leaders must learn how to develop mindsets enabling them to confront and handle uncertainty and ambiguity. Neither uncertainty nor ambiguity should be considered obstacles. Both are permanent components of the post-pandemic period that need to be included in strategic planning and leadership mindsets.


This has tremendous consequences for the future of work. Uncertainty is one of the most challenging psychological events to experience. It is a natural human desire to want to feel certain about things for us to feel more in control. Yet, we cannot control uncertainty and ambiguity. Being able to cope with uncertainty and ambiguity is now a highly marketable leadership skill.


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