5 Leadership Skills to Drive Your Organization Forward

As the world changes, so do the demands on the leaders who steer organizations. To successfully manage increasingly complex stakeholder relationships and more pronounced business disruptions, tomorrow’s leaders will need to embrace agility, delegation, and risk-taking like never before, according to a Korn Ferry research report.

Assessment of your team is an important part of your succession plan, but what exactly are the areas you should be assessing? We’ve identified five core competencies that are crucial for APAC leaders who want to succeed in the future.

5 Leadership Skills for Future Success

1 The Ability to Identify a Clear Purpose

Having a clear, strong vision sets successful leaders apart.

Asia Pacific has traditionally been a center for excellence in execution, but businesses today must also have a clear vision of who they are, what they stand for, and where they plan to be in the future. This is an area where companies in APAC founded by local Asia Pacific leaders can stand out from multinational corporations with headquarters elsewhere in the world.

"In multinational corporations, the muscle of execution is stronger than visioning because there are regional and global layers above them," says Rupali Gupta, a Singapore-based Senior Client Partner at Korn Ferry. "But what sets successful future-focused companies coming out of Asia apart is often a strong leader with a strong vision.”

2 Willingness to Take Risks

Certain cultural expectations have made risk-taking challenging for some APAC leaders, says Gupta. But future-ready leaders are willing to take calculated risks and challenge the status quo. They don’t always follow the rules and accept conventional wisdom. They consistently agitate for change and progression.

The most successful APAC leaders are also confident in experimenting and asking for opinions outside their usual circle, says Gupta.

"This can be a great way to overcome the challenges of hierarchy, rather than break it,” she suggests. “Go to three different people who you’ve never asked for their advice—someone in the function, someone vaguely associated with the domain area, and a customer, or someone receiving the solution or service.”

3 Empowering Your Team to Succeed

Enterprise leaders may reach their position because of their ability to see how the business connects across systems and different areas of an organization. But with an increasingly complex ecosystem, no single leader can see or act on everything—and nor should they.

A core competency of future-ready leaders is the ability to look beyond individual success and empower their teams. Pull quote: "Supporting middle managers to shift their mindset from one of individual achievement to looking at the bigger picture, delegating, and empowering their teams could help them build the skills for future leadership early in their careers,” says Gupta.

4 Looking Past Personal Bias for Greater Inclusion

Inclusivity isn’t about ticking a box. It’s about achieving significantly better results for your business. And Korn Ferry’s CEO outcomes research shows that bringing in a diverse range of perspectives will be critical to the success of enterprise leaders in the future.

Inclusive APAC leaders look past their own bias to rely on objective measures, rather than subjective, when deciding who to hire and promote.

“Leaders often hire and promote the most articulate or visible people, who aren’t always the most capable,” says Gupta. “Using assessments takes away some of the bias that can come from how someone dresses, speaks, and presents themselves. They give us a view of the competencies, drivers, experiences, and traits a person needs for success.”

5 Self-Awareness and Empathy

Truly understanding yourself and your impact on others is one of the core traits needed to lead through future change. Empathy and self-awareness are also important for aligning your teams to your vision and purpose.

Without understanding the impact your actions have on the people you work with, you may struggle to bring them along on the journey.

“It’s also about knowing and understanding the knowledge or skill gaps that you have,” says Gupta. “A lot of Asian people have grown up in an education system where they’re rewarded for excellence and achievement. Having the humility to ask for help doesn’t always come naturally.”

Leaders can use assessments to better understand themselves and can sharpen their performance by seeking feedback from colleagues and executive coaches.

Leadership Development

Leaders who can tap into the power of all

Drive More Success with Trust, Experimentation, and Storytelling

To support these five core skills, successful leaders should start from a foundation of trust and foster a culture of empowerment for their people.

Building trust means being credible, reliable, ethical, and consistent—and using persuasive storytelling to communicate this to your organization. And trust goes both ways. Show you trust your people by empowering them to take risks and experiment—within safe boundaries, of course. 

“APAC leaders often focus on logical arguments that come from data,” says Gupta. “But we know that emotional storytelling is a key part of impactful communication to move people in the direction of the future.”

Want to know more about the skills your leaders need for future success? Watch our webinar on the Evolution of Leadership.