5 Surprising Skills Leaders Need Today

In a market defined by uncertainty and change, how to excel.

Leadership is not about command and control anymore. Directing upcoming generations of workers who are motivated by a sense of play, passion and purpose can call on some unexpected skills.

Today’s workplace is more frenetic than ever before, creating demand for those “who can navigate how to manage a team through times of intense organizational change -- people being fired and hired,” says Elli Sharef, a veteran of McKinsey & Co and co-founder of HireArt, which offers tools to test job candidates’ skills. “There is a lot of tension, dislocation and emotional frustration.”

The mix of hard skills you need to lead today may be new, but some skills never go out of style. Leaders still need wisdom, empathy, clear communication and coaching skills. We interviewed experts in hiring, leadership development, innovation and technology to compile our list of 5 skills you should add to your toolkit.

Resilience With change and unpredictability the norm, leaders must be able to bounce back. Experienced workers can adapt well to change because they have seen it all before, says New York-based leadership coach Karen Solorow, president of Coaching for Success. Experience can put change into perspective.

See also: 4 Job Rules You Should Never Believe Again

Humor Don’t be afraid to use humor to lighten the mood. People who are having fun work better, especially in tense situations. Drs. Lee Berk and Stanley Tan of Loma Linda University in California found that laughing can be scientifically linked to productivity by lowering blood pressure and reducing stress hormones.

Willingness to Learn From Others Leaders recognize this as a sign of strength, not weakness. Face it: No one person can possibly know everything. Learn from experience what you’re good at and what you’re not, and hire to fill the gaps. Then trust the people you hire to do their jobs.

Knowing When to Collaborate Leaders understand when to reach a mutual decision versus when a decision needs to be made quickly and expeditiously. Tony Wagner, author of Creating Innovators and a fellow at Harvard’s Technology & Entrepreneurship Center, has studied the interplay between younger and older managers. “Authority must come through shared vision and helping younger employees more fully realize their values,” he notes.

Advancing Reports’ Careers – Even If It Means Losing Them “One of the biggest things too often missed is a continuous conscious effort to build the people within your organization, even to the point that in order to do the right thing by that employee you may have to help them find another place because there is no more opportunity where they are,” says Dave Snidero, a Hoboken, New Jersey-based business technology strategy consultant. This type of leadership fosters loyalty and great reviews of your leadership with your employees’ own networks. “It takes confidence. You have to be strong enough to bring people in who are stronger than you and sometimes in the end you’re going to lose people.”

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