Core Leadership Skills: Must-Have Executive Skills For 2020 & Beyond

Core leadership skills executive woman on phone in office building

As we head towards the end of another year, I’m shocked by how quickly 2019 has gone. But the pace of change today is much faster than simply the cycling of the seasons. 

Technology has accelerated our world, in so many different ways. It’s accelerated our communication, from days or weeks to receive a letter, to instantaneous receipt of a digital message. It’s accelerated our ability to access knowledge, manufacture products and deliver services. In fact, there’s no aspect of our working lives that hasn’t been impacted by the digital revolution.

All this rapid change needs to be met with new core leadership skills. Business leaders and their teams need to be upskilled, fast, in order to keep up with the ever-changing business landscape. 

Soft skills, like effective communication, are predicted to become more and more important in the next decade. And yet, unfortunately, research indicates that there is currently a shortage in the Australian workforce. This is just one of the reasons why communication as a core leadership skill is now mission-critical.

Why leadership communication is mission-critical

This infographic shows that companies using effective communication skills are 3.5x more likely to outperform their competitors. As a result, they can expect 47% higher total returns to stakeholders over a five year period.

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In 2020 and beyond, it’s just not enough to be brilliant operationally. You need to be able to lead and motivate your team with demonstrable confidence, vision and influence.

5 core leadership skills for 2020

Through our work with businesses Australia-wide, we’ve identified five core leadership skills for the future of the workplace. These can all be broken down into core communication skills to develop in yourself and within your team.

1. Influence

One of the most important executive skills is the ability to influence. Board members, peers, agency partners, the workforce, even members of government – these are all people upon whom you need to make a good impression and win their trust.   

2. Inspire

Steve Jobs was a charismatic and inspirational leader. Talking with him inspired people because he effectively communicated the vision. Successful business executives are able to lead a movement, not merely a company. 

3. Engage

Engagement is another thing Steve Jobs was good at. He was able to engage his audience and have them hanging on his every word. But there are plenty of others out there who have practised and honed this skill. If you’ve ever watched TED Talks, you’ll know this to be true.

4. Drive action

Ultimately, the end goal of business communication is to drive action in your audience. Whether it’s inspiring your team to work more efficiently, or negotiating a deal with investors, how successful you are at influencing, inspiring and engaging will determine your success rate at getting the desired action. 

5. Support

The last of our core leadership skills for 2020 is about the various ways in which you can support your team to achieve their goals:

On the job

Your ability to listen and communicate well with team members on a day to day basis – and essentially, be a good boss.  

Face to face

How you can provide mentorship, resolve conflict, or execute disciplinary action are essential to a smooth-running business.

Blended training

Perhaps the best support you can provide to your team is the opportunity for training. The most successful businesses in 2020 and beyond will have a matrix workforce comprised of effective communicators. Investing in some sort of soft skills training now will pay dividends. 

Online and VR practice

Technology has enabled a myriad of ways to practise your core leadership skills, and for your team to practise communication. Not only is training now available online but virtual reality (VR) provides a safe space for the experimentation of different communication techniques.

If you want to discuss the core leadership skills mentioned in this blog, why not book a call with our executive communications facilitators to find out how they’re helping leading global companies. We look forward to helping you and your teams achieve your goals.

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The Colin James Method® Facilitators train corporate executives to improve their professional communication skills with a proven methodology. Our highly trained Facilitators and Coaches are recognised for their experience in their fields and have worked with many individuals and organisations around the world to master the art of communication.

Colin James

Colin James is a well-respected Educator, Keynote Speaker, Facilitator and Co-Founder of The Colin James Method® and Inner Profit Pty Ltd a vibrant leadership development company in Australia. Creating memorable, impactful world-class events that deeply influence the way people feel, think and behave is Colin James’ forte