The future of leading: 3 essential skills to develop RIGHT NOW.

by Rob Sheppard

[Approx. 5-minute read- because being Super doesn’t happen quickly]

In today’s rapidly changing world, the role of managers and leaders is evolving like never before.

With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and the automation of routine tasks being taken over by machines, a focus is clearly developing that highlights one thing: managers WILL have a greater responsibility to lead and manage humans using Emotional Intelligence (EI).

What are Super Skills?

Super Skills, in the context of this article, refer to the essential and highly impactful traits traditionally referred to as “soft skills.” Empathy, adaptability, conflict resolution and time management just to name a few.

The reason we are joining the chorus of experts on no longer using the term ‘soft skills’ is because these skills blend art and science and take time and practice to become even remotely good at.

I beleive there is nothing remotely soft in aspiring to take on this challenge.

managers WILL have a greater responsibility to lead using Emotional Intelligence (EI).

Why are they now in focus?

These skills are critical for effective leadership in an AI-driven world and will enable managers to navigate complex human interactions, lead with emotional intelligence and foster a thriving work environment.

In my conversations with business leaders across Australia, I am anecdotally seeing a rise in cries for help to manage these types of issues in the workplace – often between people and their managers (the stakeholders who should be practicing this skill set).

What are the essential Super Skills?

Critical Thinking, Self-Management and Communication.

 Combining these Super Skills will empower leaders to adapt, inspire and drive success amidst evolving technological landscapes.

The urgency to develop these has never been more apparent… and let me explain why.

1. Critical Thinking – Embracing the Power of Thought

In the age of AI, managers must become adept at critical thinking to navigate the complexities and uncertainties that come with rapid technological advancements.

It enables leaders to analyse information objectively, identify potential challenges and make sound decisions.

Instead of relying solely on intuition or historical data, managers need to encourage their teams to explore new possibilities and unconventional approaches especially where AI is creeping into the workplace already.

Tips to develop this Super Skill: encourage open discussions and brainstorming sessions, foster a culture that values curiosity and rewards innovative solutions. Emphasise the importance of experimentation and learning from failures to foster a growth mindset within your organisation. As a leader, modelling critical thinking in your decision-making process will inspire your team members to follow suit.

model critical thinking in YOUR decision making process…

2. Self-Management – Leading from Within

The evolving landscape of work demands that leaders possess exceptional self-management skills. ‘Managing self’ [see our article on this HERE] involves understanding personal strengths and weaknesses, maintaining emotional balance and cultivating resilience in the face of challenges.

An emotionally intelligent leader can adapt swiftly to changing circumstances and lead by example, inspiring their team to do the same.

Tips to develop this Super Skill: prioritise self-awareness through introspection and feedback from others. Embrace mindfulness practices that allow you to stay present, composed and focused during hectic times. Encourage a healthy work-life balance within your team, demonstrating that productivity is not synonymous with burnout. When you lead with self-awareness and self-control, you create a positive work environment that fosters growth and well-being.

lead with self-awareness and self-control

3. Communication – The ‘And’ that Strengthens Feedback

Communication is at the core of effective leadership, and its significance is magnified in an AI-supported world.

The ability to convey ideas clearly, provide constructive feedback and actively listen becomes indispensable for nurturing collaboration and fostering a sense of belonging within the organisation.

Tips to develop this Super Skill: invest in communication training (or self-directed learning) for your managerial team. Provide opportunities for them to practice active listening and empathetic communication. Create a culture of feedback where constructive criticism is welcomed and celebrated as a means of growth.

The POWER word… ‘And…’

And something that works every time? Simply replace the word ‘but’ with ‘and’ when providing feedback.

By doing so, you acknowledge the other person’s perspective while gently offering an alternative point of view. This one simple shift in language will foster openness and encourage a growth-oriented mindset among team members.

this one simple shift in language will foster openness…

Start Your Super Skills Journey – NOW

The future of work is already here and you must prepare to lead effectively in this AI-supported world.

By cultivating Super Skills, you are starting this preparation. With one cautionary tale…

Developing Super Skills is a continuous journey. Be gentle on yourself and your team when you fail – this is just progress. Instead, seek out resources from thought leaders like Jim Collins or explore the wealth of information available on platforms like LinkedIn.

By prioritising the development of your Super Skills and fostering a positive work environment, you can build resilient, engaged and successful teams that thrive in an AI-supported world.

Embrace this journey and witness the profound impact you’ll make as a leader!

And if it’s all still confusing?

If you need help or have a sense this might be a future issue for you and your business, please click the link below and we’ll be happy to speak to you about any ideas this article has raised for you (or your team).

Thanks for reading!