15 Key Leadership Competencies to Develop Future Leaders

15 Key Leadership Competencies to Develop Future Leaders

For your company to achieve its business goals, you must focus on developing effective leadership competencies in your future leaders; to promote productivity and encourage and manage change and innovation. Building a strong leadership team with people that have the right mindset is one of the most important responsibilities of HR professionals, people managers, and heads of departments.

This article shares 15 key leadership competencies every organization should consider during sourcing, selecting, hiring, and developing talents.

What Are Leadership Competencies?

Leadership competencies are a combination of knowledge, skills, and attitude that represent and contribute to effective leadership in an organization. They are the standards or foundations of competency frameworks by which aspiring executives or leaders in an organization are initially selected, developed, and evaluated to ensure meeting job responsibility expectations.

Leadership competencies revolve around understanding company visions for the future, identifying paths to achieving goals, and influencing others to work effectively as a team.

Top 15 Leadership Competencies Essential for the Future

Top 15 Leadership Competencies Essential for the Future

1. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is an important leadership competency in the professional world today. Employees are paying more attention to the psychological impact of their working environment as much as the financial and professional impact.

Effective leaders have high self-awareness, empathy, and social skills that help them understand, and manage themselves and their team’s emotions and how it affects the people around them. They also can directly and intentionally influence the emotions of those around them. This leadership competency alone can be the difference between excellent and below-average performance in the workplace.

2. Leading by example

Some of the most productive teams in any organization often have a leader that creates a path, walks the path, and encourages team members to follow suit. Leading by example means guiding a team by the action instead of speeches and other verbal nudges.

To develop leaders with this competency, they need to understand both wins and failures are equally important, and the success of the people they lead depends on how they react to different scenarios. It requires identifying individual core values and aligning them with habits and behaviors.

3. Growth mindset

This is one of the leadership competencies that speaks primarily to mindset and how it affects productivity. It is the willingness to actively seek and take advantage of learning opportunities and encourage people around to do the same. Learning orientation is crucial for the success of any business of this era, considering the rapid technological advancements that influence business growth. Having this competency also means identifying and overcoming obstacles to learning.

4. Resilience

Resilience is the ability to use grit and composure to effectively identify, approach, and tackle challenges and obstacles. It also means identifying opportunities in the face of negativity and leading a team through such phases. It is one of the leadership competencies that work with other skills like strategic thinking and motivation for successful hurdle jumps.

5. Fostering innovation

This is a critical leadership competency for future leaders. It is the ability to encourage creativity by welcoming unpopular ideas, rewarding innovative ideas, taking risks, and actively seeking new opportunities. A leader that can comfortably foster innovation on their team has a higher chance of adapting to industry changes and making the most of it.

6. Design thinking

Developing leadership competencies around design thinking is important for effective leadership. It is the ability to understand the process of creative problem-solving by employing brainstorming, idea generation, and evaluation. Leaders with a design thinking orientation usually end up with the most effective solutions to industry problems.

7. Agility

Agility is the ability of any leader to swiftly adapt to changing situations. Some qualities that define an agile leader are open-mindedness, curiosity, resilience, and flexibility in mindset. They understand the importance of continuous growth, which makes it easy for them to learn, unlearn, and relearn.

8. Change management

Change is a constant occurrence in business and the workplace as a whole. A leader with this competency can approach changes in a level-headed manner and effectively help their team transition through such changes. It could involve using certain tools for strategy implementation and measurement of the adaptation rate in the team.

9. Navigating ambiguity

Ambiguity in business describes unpredictable and unclear situations that often confuse employees or members of a team on the next line of action. Navigating ambiguity is one of the leadership competencies that equip leaders to handle risks in situations like exploring a new market or tackling a complex problem. Leaders with this ability remain highly focused in uncertain situations

10. Fostering diversity and inclusion

Managing diversity and encouraging inclusivity are one of the most crucial leadership competencies in business today. Teams are bound to have members with different beliefs, backgrounds, and experiences. Understanding the benefit of diversity opens opportunities for effective collaboration, a welcoming culture, and team innovativeness. It requires managing biases and respecting individual perspectives.

11. Developing a team

This key leadership competency describes the ability to promote a team’s growth based on individual and collective strengths and contributions to the organization’s success. An effective team is a productive team. Therefore, the leader must nurture team members through coaching, mentoring, developmental training, or constructive feedback. This will also lead to effective relationship building and boost the ability to meet set targets.

12. Strategic thinking

This is important in developing leaders because it contributes to an organization’s long-term growth. It is the ability to view opportunities or problems, weigh possible options to approach, design strategies to follow, and execute effectively. It requires brilliance, creativity, high organization, and focus.

13. Lead business

This combines the technical knowledge of business strategy and development with the ability to build a professional network and make decisions that directly impact the business. It is also the ability to assume different roles, guide and coach people, reward excellent results and efforts, and go out of your way to assist with meeting business goals.

14. Humility

Being humble is a subtle display of vulnerability in the workplace. It is the ability to open up to your team, take responsibility for mistakes or poor decisions, and encourage and respect different opinions while setting and maintaining professional boundaries. It also means asking for help regardless of position and providing assistance without hesitation.

This leadership competency takes a lot of courage and emotional intelligence to implement.

15. Motivating peers

Motivating is the ability to inspire a team by creating a comfortable working environment physically and psychologically. You can also motivate by communicating the company’s vision in a way that compels the team to pursue it like a personal vision. It also requires emotional intelligence to be effective.

How to Develop Leadership Competencies

Developing leadership competencies takes time and significant deliberate efforts on the parts of both the existing and the aspiring leaders. One way is to identify and develop specific soft skills like active listening, effective communication, and giving and receiving feedback. Coaching and mentoring could also contribute to developing these skills.

Enrolling future leaders in a leadership development program would be a better approach. These programs equip participants with the skills required to embrace new leadership roles. Lumofy Emerging leaders program was designed to equip future leaders in your organization with the top core leadership competencies required for effective leadership. It will prepare participants to embrace challenges and opportunities in new leadership roles by optimizing individual potential with a focus on self-awareness and emotional intelligence.


Leadership is more than giving orders and asking for reports. It requires more adaptability, open-mindedness, and inclusivity. Developing core competencies frameworks in emerging organizational leaders would ensure a better decision-making process, employee productivity, and more innovative approaches to achieving business goals.

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