Businesses today face an environment that is driven by rapid market changes, the proliferation of digital technologies, and the changing expectations of customers and employees. These developments have a particular impact on the demands made on executives who want to drive innovation in their organizations and lead the workforce. When leaders lack the skills they need today, organizations quickly lag behind their competitors who can better adapt to the digital economy.
But what leadership skills are needed to meet these requirements? What technologies are used to implement leadership development and what are the difficulties in modernizing this development? The Human Capital Media Research and Advisory Group, in partnership with Skillsoft, conducted a study on "Developing Leadership for a Digital Economy" to answer these questions. Around 500 executives from a wide range of industries and organizations with offices in North America, EMEA, and global presences were surveyed.
The study participants said these were the most challenging aspects of being an executive:
- Keep up with all technologies used in the company
- Competent leadership in relation to changes within one's own organization, the team, but also with regard to customers and partners
- The necessary emotional intelligence
- Required conflict resolution skills
- Strategic alignment of leadership functions
- The promotion and implementation of innovations
- Clear course specifications in times of change
Significant findings from the study's results:
Skill priorities are changing
76 percent of organizations have either recently changed their leadership skills needs, have just prioritized leadership prioritization, or plan to revise in the near future.
Important soft skills for executives
In addition to expertise needed to keep up with the pace of technological development, soft skills are becoming more relevant to senior executives. According to the survey participants, the leadership based on values/ethics (77 percent) and the promotion of diversity (68 percent) are relevant topics. In addition, skills for effective collaboration (76 percent), the ability to build and strengthen teams (69 percent), agility to react flexibly to new demands and changing conditions (66%), and support are also in increasing demand of innovations (63 percent).
New organizational structures require competence training for employees at all levels
Eighty-six percent state that employees today take leadership roles without a formal assignment of that role. Ninety-five percent of respondents say employees who are not currently in a direct oversight role still need entrepreneurial skills.
The use of new technology for leadership development is scalable
A high percentage of organizations surveyed said they were planning to implement new technology for leadership development.
Change processes to integrate new leadership skills are just beginning
Thirty-two percent of organizations say that they have just begun adapting their leadership skills. Only six percent state that the modernization of their leadership model has already been implemented. The entrepreneurial change process for integrating new leadership skills is therefore far from complete.
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