9 Traits Every 21st-Century Leader Needs
Modern times call for a special set of leadership skills. Do you possess them?
When you think of "leadership qualities," do you picture someone confident, assertive and able to make tough decisions under pressure? Or do you imagine a person with an inspiring vision for the future?
In this day and age, we need leaders who can guide us in today's world. The skills required by this new era go beyond what once made leaders successful; it requires being able to lead people through emotional challenges, such as conflicts or crises, without resorting to harsh or coercive tactics. Today's leaders must be able to speak the language of multiple generations, to understand how our ever-changing technologies are shaping society and their organization, and to embrace diversity in all its forms.
Let’s take a look at important traits that an individual can develop to help them evolve into a true leader in this fast-paced digital world.
1. Emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence (EI) is the ability to identify, understand and manage emotions. EI has become an important trait because leaders today are usually managing varied emotions daily, not just those within themselves but also those in other employees too. They need to identify what these emotions are without allowing any negative ones to affect judgment or decisions that may adversely impact the company's growth or productivity level.
Creativity can be considered as a set of personal traits required by leaders for their team members to succeed in today's ever-changing world. These qualities include being able to think outside the box and solve problems creatively, which will sustain good global leadership roles in future years. It is essential for growth.
The ability to understand what others feel plays a significant role in the personal and professional success of any individual. Everything is not about just closing a deal or increasing sales. It is being human and understanding people's feelings rather than simply analyzing them through calculations. Leaders need to be able to put themselves in someone else's shoes to understand their point of view and perspective. Being empathetic helps to build relationships and avoid conflicts. Once they are truly able to understand others, they can begin to provide better support to their team.
Leaders who are confident in themselves and have strong convictions in the company's mission will be able to withstand criticism from both internal and external sources. Self-confident leaders inspire and empower team members while building trust, enthusiasm and innovation.
5. Collective leadership
A leader should be able to provide leadership for the group as opposed to just one person in charge of everything, which could lead to resentment and power struggles among other team members. Placing too much trust in one person can lead to poor morale and mistakes in a project since no single individual has all the information necessary for good decision-making. Collective leadership provides more input from different people who are impacted or interested in certain areas related to their company's work; it ensures that everyone feels like they have an equal voice while creating opportunities for new ideas and innovations by involving multiple mindsets into an organization.
6. Communication skills
When one can communicate effectively, they are more likely to get their message heard. The best way to keep a team motivated and productive is to communicate with them regularly. Leaders need to be able to communicate their thoughts and feelings with others. Whether it is in a team meeting, through email, or phone call; communication should never stop. Communication is a key skill that any leader needs today because they are interacting not just with their staff but also their customers and clients on a day-to-day basis. Good communication skills include being articulate enough so others can understand what someone is trying to say without confusion as well as having good listening skills to respond respectfully when necessary. The importance of communication skills is easy to see when one looks around the modern workplace. Everyone needs this skill, whether for interpersonal relationships or making a pitch to improve the company.
Leaders need to encourage and inspire their team members. Being able to help your team maintain high morale and hope in difficult times will help them prosper. A leader's own actions and personal stories can inspire others to work smarter, take better care of themselves, see their collective goal in a new light and so much more.
It is also important for leaders to be inclusive in their leadership. Leaders should consider and empower those around them when making decisions and plans for the future. A leader's goal is to cultivate a team that feels a sense of belonging and can work together successfully. This requires treating all employees and coworkers fairly; getting input from everyone (while sticking to the vision and mission of the company), and providing the resources and support that team members need to achieve their full potential both individually and collectively. Diversity and inclusivity are essential at every company.
9. Decision-making skills
Leaders must be able to make difficult decisions in any situation, take risks and build a strong rapport with their team members. In today's tiring and fast-paced world, many challenges await us. If a leader is not able to make the right decision for their team promptly, then the productivity will suffer and the organization will not be able to reach its short-term and long-term goals. Sound decisions are a hallmark of leadership and great leaders can make these tough decisions quickly.
A 21st-century leader needs to be an inspiring visionary for the future. They should provide a goal and inspire others with their sense of purpose. Leaders need empathy and creativity to inspire, support and encourage their team members. They also need good decision-making skills to make smart moves that are practical both for the team as a whole and as an individual.
Today's best leaders have a vision and set the tone for their team. True leaders move beyond the role of "boss" and encourage others to lead, in turn creating more leaders. Are you a boss or a leader?
Related: Your Leadership Playbook for 2021
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Contributor