Leadership Skills for the New Normal 
Leading with Humanity

Strong leadership is vital during times of uncertainty. Flexible and responsive leadership is important when motivation and productivity, as well as the mental health of the workforce, is under pressure. Leaders need to adjust their strategies in the new normal.

Whitepaper | Leadership Skills for the New Normal

Find out more about Leadership Skills

In this whitepaper

  • A New Kind of Leadership Is Driving Employee Engagement and Retention
  • Leading with Learning
  • Developing Leadership Skills for the New Normal
  • Future Proofing
leadership skills

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A New Kind of Leadership

A new model of organization is emerging, with flatter hierarchies. New generations of employees that have different values and prioritize communication and a more humane, transparent type of leader are entering the workforce. The transition towards a different kind of leadership has paid dividends during 2020. Quantum Workplace surveyed 470,000 employees and found that employee engagement has increased by 11% this year, despite the crisis. And leadership skills have been at the heart of this successful engagement. Almost nine out of 10 (88%) of employees agreed that the frequency of communication from leaders was effective, and nine out of 10 employees said they felt well supported by their immediate managers during the crisis.

In an interview with McKinsey analysts, David Schwimmer – London Stock Exchange Group’s CEO – described the need for new leadership qualities: “My role has changed. People are looking to me for a different kind of leadership. In a normal environment, it’s about business leadership and setting up strategy, as well as culture and people decisions. In this environment, it’s about helping people maintain morale. It’s about people being prepared for whatever may come in the face of uncertainty. And it is about encouraging people and helping them to stay focused on our objectives in a very worrying global environment.” He added, “That’s just a totally different leadership model, and it’s going to stick. It’s going to change how I operate and the expectations of how we communicate across the group.”

Developing Leadership Skills

Most business leaders (86%) surveyed by the World Economic Forum think there is a leadership crisis in the world today. When asked what skills leaders need to win back the confidence of their populations, respondents said leaders needed strong communication skills; a prioritization of social justice and wellbeing over financial growth; empathy; courage; morality; and collaborative nature.

Society and the workplace are increasingly focused on human factors such as mental health, inclusion and reducing the gender pay gap. These changes require a new attitude and approach to leadership. And companies have recognized this need, estimates put the global investment in leadership development at over $300 billion. HR professionals can do so much more to tailor leadership learning to be effective and to embed skills so that individuals and the organization continue to benefit from high-level leadership skills.