12 Skills Business Leaders Should Hone to Level Up Their Leading Abilities

Originally published by Newsweek.com

Loren Margolis, Founder & Managing Director, Training & Leadership Success

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Prioritizing the development of leadership skills helps build organizations that can last long term.

Business leaders today can no longer rely solely on the skills that have always brought organizational success. Instead, as the world continues to change significantly, the focus for leaders must be on strengthening existing skills and continually developing new skills to be able to build connected teams and long-lasting organizations.

To help deepen understanding of what skills will be needed in the future, the members of Newsweek Expert Forum each share one skill that business leaders should actively work on to level up their leading abilities.

1. Authenticity
Authenticity has become one of the core tenets of transformational leadership in today’s modern, digital age. The impact of COVID and working from home gave people an unprecedented inside view into the day-to-day lives of team members, and people started bringing their more authentic selves to work. Executives have to mirror this by letting team members see them in a more personal light. – James Larkin, Marlin Hawk Ltd

2. The Ability To Connect
Connection, of course! When leaders demonstrate interest in their employees’ wellâ€being and show that people are important to the company’s success, they create an engaged and loyal workforce. People work for people, not businesses. When connected, people try harder, and they do it for you as their leader. The key to connected leadership is creating a connected culture and simply getting to know your people. – Michelle Tillis Lederman, Author, The Connector’s Advantage

3. Honesty Around Mental Health
When leadership talks openly about mental health, their own included, it not only breaks down stigmas, but also encourages employees to speak up about their own mental health. Leaders can build a culture of mental wellness where getting mental health help is a sign of strength and is as routine as getting medical care for any other health condition. – Sonja Wasden, The Gap Press

4. Adaptability
One key skill is adapting to change. Leaders must be able to shift gears quickly as business needs change. At the same time, they need to lead their team forward with minimal disruption. If the leader sets the tone and standard for change management, the team will follow more confidently. – Jenna Hinrichsen, Advanced RPO

5. Learning Agility
Learning agility or knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do is key, especially today. To develop it intentionally, take on new, lower stakes challenges that scare you. As you tackle them, force yourself to come up with new solutions, even if trusted ones exist. Ask and use ideas from people whom you normally wouldn’t to expand your thinking. Take the time to reflect and record what you learn. – Loren Margolis, Training & Leadership Success LLC

6. Grit
I’ve always felt like grit is a timeless skill that leaders need in today’s changing environment. It takes grit to work through a tricky situation, have difficult conversations with employees or push beyond your normal capabilities. The business landscape is changing rapidly and having grit will be the one element that helps you get past the unknown or difficult times in the business. – Brian Meert, AdvertiseMint

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7. Constancy
I think good leadership is constant and doesn’t shift. I’ve asked thousands of leaders what their most inspiring boss did every day. They always give me the same list irrespective of sector, role or culture. The simple actions leaders do every day will get the best results and deliver success in any situation. That’s because we are all human and those actions, like showing you care, inspire us. – Chris Roebuck, Simply Success

8. Technological Awareness
I’d encourage all business leaders to keep up to date on the technologies coming out of Silicon Valley and within the startup community. Innovators are solving problems so much quicker than they ever have before, and the younger generations are adapting to new tech at light speed. You can’t lead well if your employees think your tech understanding is in the Dark Ages. – Kim Estep, Branig Capital Markets

9. Curiosity
Be data-driven and curious. Develop a model that works for you and your team to understand your customer and business operations deeply. Constantly ask yourself and your team questions to encourage open discussion about what’s hitting the mark and innovative ways to improve what’s not. Focus on the data, not the pitch or person, to make breakthroughs. – Matt Domo, FifthVantage

10. Active Listening
The most important skill for business leaders is the ability to really listen to those around them. Your team is your most valuable resource, and encouraging them to use their imagination and insight to explore possibilities that you may never have thought of is the way to lead everyone to success. – Jeanne Cygnus, Cygnus Lactation Services LLC

11. Patience
I’m very thankful for the work that gets done at our company, and I think my being patient is a very important sign of that. I understand all too well that we all have deadlines and project end dates, but pushing my team too hard can backfire. Patience is still a virtue! – Christopher Davenport, AutoParts4Less

12. The Ability to See the Big Picture
Sometimes it is easy to get bogged down in the details and miss the big picture, the big problem and the big solution. As a leader, one should always have the ability to look beyond the nitty-gritty and see the larger picture. This is how you find the big opportunities and solve big problems. – Roshani Pandey, True Root Financial