8 World-Class Leaders Shares the Crucial Skill for Tomorrow’s Leaders

I came across this great 5 minute video from Harvard Business Publishing that spotlights eight leadership experts who share their perspectives into the most crucial skills for leaders of tomorrow. I’m sure you’ll find these leadership insights very relevant and insightful. Enjoy!

Dr. Angel Cabrera – President, Thunderbird School of Global Management

One of the most important thing a leader has is trust of followers. There is not a leader if there are no followers. Every leader takes a leap of faith in trusting the judgment of the leader. Trust is all you have. It’s hard to build. It’s easy to lose. In the era of new communication and tools, you are constantly being exposed for good and for bad. The most important tool a leader have forward is to how to use the tools to build trust, to conserve trust, and not to lose it.

Bill George – Professor, Harvard Business School

I believe that leadership is not about skills. It’s the character of the leader and the person within, and I think the most important thing a leader has to do is to find their authentic voice and authentic self and then can be genuine. That comes from an exploration of one’s life story and having a sense of purpose passion, and mission on how to they want to lead. If you don’t know where you’re going, why would I want to follow you? So every leader needs to have a sense of purpose in why they are leading.

Daisey Wademan Dowling – Executive Director, Leadership Development at Morgan Stanley

I think leaders can’t be effective unless they have two things. The first is that they need empathy. They need to understand where they are coming up and have that human connection. I don’t think they are able to lead effectively if they aren’t able to understand people’s motivation. Second, is the relentless ability to build capacity around them. In other words, leaders need to be teachers.

Andy Zelleke – Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

I think leaders of the future will continue to need what they always had which is a devotion to the interests of others, their community, their society, their nation, their organization. I think that’s a timeless aspect of leadership.

Batia Mishan Wiesenfeld – Professor, Stern School of Business, NYU

I think probably the most important trait when a leader is giving direction is to get into the habit of always explaining why. So the act of giving explanation of why you are asking someone to do something, why you are doing something yourself forces you to identify the underlying values that are driving your behavior or request. They allow you to ensure that you are conveying and communicating those to others and it creates a dynamic of accountability where the reason that you’re asking someone to doing something get aligned with the practices.

Evan Wittenberg – Head of Global Leadership Development, Google, Inc.

I think one of the most important skills of the leaders of the future or behaviors is curiosity. I think the world is terribly complex and as leaders are working more across boundaries, the only way to do that effectively is to understand that you don’t know everything and to be curious and inquisitive about different environments and not making assumptions.

Dr. Ellen Langers – Professor, Harvard University

Not surprisingly as I’ve been studying mindfulness for over 30 years, I believe that leaders of the future would prosper enormously by being more mindful. Mindfulness, as I study it, is a very simple process of noticing new things. When you notice new things that puts you in the present, and when you’re in the present that allows you to take advantage and opportunities and to avoid the dangers that have risen, the net result of having mindful leaders is that you no longer have people applying yesterday’s solutions to today’s problems.

Scott Snook – Associate Professor, Harvard Business School

The most important skill that that future leaders need is a clear sense of their calling or their purpose. So many leaders who are technically competent or wonderfully skilled, they aren’t sure of the why, the bigger question. We find this search in all of our students, in all of our executives, all the way down to elementary schools. The search for meaning, “why am I doing what I’m doing.” So, the clarity of purpose from me is the base, the bedrock of what leaders of the future need.

Question: Do you have more to add? What, in your opinion, is the most crucial skill for tomorrow’s leaders?