Five Top Traits for Future Leaders

Written by Julie Kampf on . Posted in Blog

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What do you stand for? The answer will shape your workplace culture and your success as a leader. As demographic changes generate talent shortages and the business environment becomes increasingly complex, leaders of the future will need five key traits.

Adaptability. Companies increasingly are asking recruiters to find leaders who can manage change. In the new business environment, described as one of perpetual white water by the Center for Creative Leadership, leaders must adapt to protect both their organizations and their careers. One study cited mismanaging change as the top reason that CEOs get fired.

Collaboration. The CEO dictator is a thing of the past, particularly for millennial employees. Research from Deloitte cites having an approach deemed autocratic as the least popular characteristic of leaders among millennials. Executives who hold on to the old idea that you have to step on toes to get ahead may soon find themselves without a team.

Inclusiveness. As the talent pool shrinks and we move closer to a majority-minority labor force, successful leaders will have no choice but to find and develop diverse talent with broad skills. Top leaders are already looking differently at skills. The latest CEO survey from PwC finds that 80 percent of U.S. CEOs are looking for a much broader range of skills when hiring than they did in the past.

Transparency. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz put it beautifully: "the currency of leadership is transparency." Transparency builds trust, and some research ranks it as the top factor contributing to employee happiness. On an organizational level, companies that are quick to admit failure or to warn about harmful situations are much more reputable and trustworthy than those that are quiet - perhaps too quiet-and more likely to point fingers or deny any misdeeds.

Resilience. You'll need resilience to guide your enterprise and your career. Not so long ago, people could get a job and hang there. Now you can lose your job in short order at every level, and you can get fired by conference call, text or e-mail. Sometimes success just comes down to a simple refusal to quit.

These qualities are basic but not common. Increasingly, the business world needs leaders who make people a priority: who are adaptable, collaborative, inclusive and transparent. And who have figured out to keep going no matter what.


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