10 essential skills to be a leader in demand
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Posted by: Barbara Francella
By Wendy Capland
With the internet, email, social media, smart phones and
tablets dramatically changing the way an organization leads, markets and
operates, you’ve probably noticed a huge shift in the workplace. To stay
relevant and ahead of your competitors, it’s not enough to perform your work
well or offer good products and services.
To surge ahead, look at your skills and the skills of others
within your organization and map them against the latest trends. The Institute
for the Future identified key skills needed in today’s workplace. As you look
at each of these skills, you might notice yourself feeling challenged to develop
Related: "3 types of inspiring leaders (which are you?)"
1. Sense-Making. Can you connect trends to
create new ideas? Think of the smartphone. It connects email, voicemail, the
phone, Skype, Facetime, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. All the dots
across multiple channels of communication are brilliantly connected on one
easy-to-use mobile device. Ask yourself: What dots can you connect in your own
work that might offer you or your organization a new product or way of
Intelligence. This is the ability to connect with people in a deeper more
meaningful way. One of my sales mentors always told me if you want to build
rapport, ask people about things they consider important. Every person has
their own goals and desires. To thrive, we need to understand each other’s
emotions, motivations and triggers. This allows us to influence, lead and sell
our ideas to others.
3. Novel and Adaptive
Thinking. Adapting to new realities
creates value. Every day new technologies impact the way we make decisions and
live our lives. On the flip side, if we are not creating enough value, it’s
easy for our services and jobs to be outdated and outsourced.
Competencies. Globalization is a reality and success depends on being effective
in different cultural settings. Almost daily, we speak and collaborate with
people across multiple geographies and cultures. I run meetings on Webex, Google
Hangouts and Skype. It’s sometimes hard to fathom that we are actually located
all the way across the world from each other.
Thinking. Are you able to translate vast amounts of data into insights by
spotting trends and patterns? This includes spotting trends in what people say
on social media about similar products and services. Noticing the trends and
utilizing them to your advantage can help you stay ahead of your competition.
6. New Media Literacy.
I stopped reading the paper newspaper five years ago. I’ve heard that some church-goers
are reading the Bible through their tablets or smartphones. We’re immersed in blogs,
videos and podcasts and it’s essential to become fluent in digital and social
forms of communication.
It’s important to see the big picture. Listen closely to your market,
connect the dots between their needs and your resources, and synthesize ideas.
8. Design Mindset. A
design mindset refers to continually solving problems, in any situation, by
focusing on human values and understanding what matters to the people you are
serving. Your ability to be empathetic though observations, conversations and
experiences is critical.
9. Cognitive Load
Management. Every day we receive 5,000 or more advertising, email, Twitter,
phone, text and other messages. Each is designed to grab your attention. Your
ability to focus and filter through the clutter to quickly determine which
message requires your attention, determines your success.
Collaboration. As companies work globally or outsource their requirements, leaders
must collaborate virtually. Although there are dozens of tools — Skype, Google Docs, Zollo, Google
Hangouts, etc. — it’s still
difficult to lead and collaborate virtual teams.
Consider how these 10 skills are needed in your organization
— and how they can help you meet your career goals.
Wendy Capland, CEO and
founder of Vision Quest
Consulting, is an internationally recognized leadership development expert,
author of Your Next Bold Move for Women,
and the leading authority on "Stepping Into Leadership.” For more than 20
years, she and her team of 45 coaches, trainers and consultants have developed
the leadership skills and capabilities of thousands of Fortune 500 and
entrepreneurial executives. Her advice has been featured in numerous national
publications and on, radio and television.
Views expressed in signed blogs and user comments are those
of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Network of
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