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The heights of the COVID-19 pandemic might have passed, but the business environment continues to be as volatile and dynamic as ever.

This environment, when coupled with the increased focus on technology and the digital world, prompts a future that is filled with uncertainty.

As a result, it is integral for business leaders to develop a number of leadership skills needed in order to quickly adapt to changing circumstances and make conscious decisions.

Therefore, here are five skills that business leaders need to master as they seek to take the leap forward in this rapidly changing and shifting environment.

1) Strategic thinking

Strategic thinking centres around getting to know the world and your place within it.

Business leaders that are vastly skilled in this area are able to maintain a balance between long term views for the company, while also keeping track of its day-to-day operations. In doing so, they apply overarching factors such as the economy to more company-specific ones like customer needs and company culture, in order to establish a business strategy.

Such a strategy includes setting specific targets, tracking progress, and if needed, also imputing adjustments to the plan.

Strategic thinking requires business leaders to be creative in their approach to developing the strategy, yet they also have to possess the skills and knowledge to successfully execute it. For five tips on how to efficiently apply a strategy, click here.

This type of thinking is important because it allows business leaders to navigate through this uncertain business landscape, and also ensures the organisation is moving forward in the right direction.

2) Making decisions driven by data

A critical challenge that businesses face in the digital age is making data-oriented decisions.

While making decisions based on a “gut feeling” or “previous experience” might have worked in the past, nowadays businesses have to incorporate data-driven tools in order to measure progress. At the end of the day, this ensures business leaders are making a particular decision based on facts, rather than assumptions.

A business leader’s ability to gather, analyse, and act on data is integral for an organisation to be both agile and effective. Data-driven decision making allows them to make fact-based decisions and to improve the organisation’s efficiency as a whole.

Additionally, incorporating such data into making decisions allows a culture of transparency and trust to be established with employees, as they know that the decisions are based on accurate data and not only preferences.

3) People management

In today’s tight job market, effective people management is a critical skill that business leaders have to develop.

This is in sharp contrast to the way things were in the past, when business leaders focused on having content and diligent workers that were enough to sustain the organisation.

However, business leaders nowadays need to do more than that if they want to successfully attract, engage, and retain top talent.

This does not only include treating employees fairly and setting and achieving high goals, but it is also involves communicating a clear vision and mission to them, so that they know the organisation’s direction.

A company’s people are its greatest asset, and as a result, effective people management is essential. Business leaders need to hire the right people for the right roles, but also ensure that everything is in place for them to succeed. Recognition of employees’ hard work, providing internal promotions, as well as giving space for coaching and development, are just some of the ways that leaders can allow their employees to feel valued and engaged.

4) Maintaining agility and flexibility

Nowadays, the most efficient companies tend to be agile and flexible, being able to change when necessary.

Such agility involves businesses being able to make quick and nimble decisions without being slowed down by bureaucracy or needlessly strict processes. This can also be achieved by putting in place clearly defined goals that can be altered and pivoted according to the situation, as well as when taking into consideration feedback from colleagues.

As a result, business leaders have to be decisive while also maintaining the right amount of control.

Successful businesses are ones that are agile and hence can adapt to rapidly changing circumstances while still retaining focus on a specific goal.

5) Brilliant communication skills

Lastly, each business leader needs to possess brilliant communication skills.

In the past, the perception was that business leaders could run an organisation on their own, having a team of workers who did as they were instructed to, with barely any questioning their authority. In this manner, there was only one-way communication and was relatively simple and direct.

However, this is not the case nowadays. Today’s business environment is much more complex than in the past, and requires leaders to have effective communication with others that flows in more than one direction.

Well-established and successful business leaders encourage others to express their opinions and to think through problems, rather than dictate everything themselves. This can be done by clearly outlining and communicating the message, as well as responding well to questions and feedback.


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