The Top Five Skills Effective Leaders Need in 2020

Our world is in a state of transformation. With COVID-19 and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the 2020 workspace will require innovative new styles of leadership – ones that are personalized, collaborative, culturally attuned, and technologically adept. Leaders now have to be rooted in the present while looking toward the future, to meet the demands of a regularly shifting and global marketplace.

Whether you manage your own company or work for someone else, the most successful leaders require some good leadership traits so they can positively connect with their clients, team members, customers, and employees. As a team leader, business executive, or project supervisor, all professionals that have been given the mandate to lead should have good leadership skills.

What does Leadership Skills Mean?

Everyone’s definition of “good leadership skills” differs. So many see leadership as the ability to “get things done” through others, but it’s also about motivating team members to achieve company goals and deliver results.

Is leadership for everybody?

Some people seem born to be great leaders, but I believe leadership is a skill that’s learned and practiced! Ultimately, no book or manual can tell you the exact steps to becoming a great leader, but most all agree that strong leadership begins with phenomenal soft skills. If you’re willing to work on the skills, you’re open to feedback, and you check your ego at the door, you can become a great leader.

The Top Five Skills Effective Leaders Need in 2020

Developing strong leadership skills plays a vital role in the success of any business, but so many businesses hit the snooze button when it comes to investing in this area. It’s put on the “back burner.” We all know it’s important, but something more urgent always seems to take priority. Now, more than ever, it’s time to focus on developing leaders.

Here are the most in-demand skills for leaders in 2020

1. Effective communication

Good communication is the base of all successful relationships, and those in leadership positions must prioritize it. Being able to openly express yourself and build empathy with others is the foundation of becoming a great leader.

The most significant segment of communication is listening. Often taken for granted, listening is the most underrated yet important skill a leader should have. The only way to get people to follow you is to make them feel heard.

The more you make real eye contact and show sincere interest in the lives of others, the more people will be magnetically drawn to you. You’ll see them become inspired, as well as begin to know, like, and trust you.

On the other hand, if you show little or no interest, lack eye contact, and show no interest in the personal stories of your team, they will shut down. Communication is the most important quality of being a great leader in 2020.

2. Collaborative mindset

In our world today, we need leaders who have a collaborative mindset, work comfortably in a networked environment, cooperate with others, deal across cultures, and navigate difficult markets. Since employees mention honest feedback as one of the most desired skills in a leader, new protocols are being made to bring about a regular stream of real-time and immediate feedback.

New ways of teaching include reverse, group, micro, and anonymous mentoring. Team-based leadership options, such as collaborative councils and boards, improve cross-team functionality. Team leaders seek and consider input from all employees. In 2020, leaders must factor in the input of various thoughts, experiences, and skills and deploy them for fast, productive results.

3. Empathy

A true leader has enough open-mindedness to understand the motivation, hopes, dreams, and problems of their team members so that they can create a deep personal connection with them.

Empathy isn’t just about being a nice person. It is a mindset that makes it possible for leaders to:

  • Improve work strategies
  • Inspire loyalty among their teams
  • Increase creativity
  • Make better predictions
  • Negotiate more effectively

Knowing where people are coming brings humanity back to work, and it starts with coming from a place of curiosity.  For instance, if a worker is always late by 15 minutes, a good leader won’t impute blame on them right away. Instead, they’ll ask what’s going on and offer help if needed.

Perhaps they’re dealing with a personal struggle at home, health issues, or car issues. Great leaders are empathetic with their teams and deeply understand what drives them. This is especially important when so much is going on that’s changing our sense of “normal.” Letting others know you can empathize with how they feel can help further inclusion.

4. Understanding Technology

The 2020 leader is up-to-date with new technology that’s employed today. They make use of social technologies as a means of keeping all the outlying components of the company in a real-time, two-way information loop. Work-oriented communication platforms like Slack and Yammer invite transparency, inclusion, and quick communication to address changing market situations. In addition to being digitally confident, they have to seek new means of revolutionizing the technical proficiency of their organization and individual team.

It starts with the courage to try new things. Download that new app. Get that free trial of the newest software. Staying current in technology is required for the 2020 leader.

5. Humility

This one is HUGE, and if done well, it sets the tone for the team. Leaders who act with humility don’t seek out individual recognition. Instead, they promote their team and understand that they shine when the team shines. They amplify good ideas and ensure credit for good ideas goes to the right person. They act as sponsors for high performers and speak up when it’s time to calibrate talent for succession planning.

Most importantly, they realize they’re never “too good” to do the grunt work. When a job needs to be done, they step in and happily work aside the team to get it done. Leaders who act with humility win hearts.