This edition of Training Industry Magazine assembles a collection of perspectives on how the role of the leader needs to evolve. Whether you’re a sales leader or head of a business unit, you’re responsible for driving results and maximizing the impact of your team.

Business today demands that leadership teams bring a holistic, people-centric approach to team development. This will require leaders to become coaches with high levels of emotional intelligence. Leaders must become comfortable with less formal structure and quickly adapt to changing business environments. So, where do leaders find these new skills, and how can learning and development (L&D) help?

Soft skills like adaptability, agility, emotional intelligence and presence are emerging as critical skills at the core of good leadership for the future of work. Effectively leading with empathy, agility and contextual relevance allows leaders to help employees achieve their full potential. By actively working on these skills, leaders are more likely to have engaged teams that understand the company’s direction and how they can support the company’s goals. Leaders who are focused on L&D create a psychologically safe environment that allows employees to thrive in the absence of fear. They encourage innovation and risk-taking, because they can envision the future state of the company and have a plan to get there.

So back to my question, where do leaders find these skills, and what can L&D do to help? L&D needs to identify the core skills that leaders need to be successful and create development opportunities to instill those skills in all employees – not just leadership. These core skills can help every employee in the execution of their jobs. For example, if an employee is trained on the same skills as their manager and their manager’s manager, they are more likely to recognize cues for adaptability and handling change, understand the value of having managers who are present with the right attitude when challenges arise, and be familiar with the language used to develop vision and strategy for the company.

As the business market evolves so must our leadership development strategies. By developing leaders who can effectively manage change, organizations are well positioned to thrive in a competitive market.

As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the evolution of today’s leaders required skill set. Please send along any suggestions for us to consider in future editions of Training Industry Magazine.

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