The top 20 leadership skills you need in corporate America

Leaders willing to adapt to change will put their company and the employees beneath them in a position to excel and win more market share. 

leadership skills corporate america

It is often said leaders are not those who ask others to follow them but those who volunteer to venture into the unknown and endure potential hardship before others.  In short, true leaders are quick to say, “I’ll go first.”  Indeed, legitimate leaders are risk-takers willing to make sacrifices for the greater good.  This is true in everyday life as well as corporate America.

Leadership extends beyond delegation

There is a common misconception that leaders merely need to delegate work to others in a prudent and orderly manner.  In reality, the delegation of work is only one aspect of leadership.  It is not enough to simply assign work to those lower on the corporate totem pole and provide guidance as necessary.

Rather, legitimate leaders insert themselves directly into the fray, take risks, and accept blame when necessary.  In other words, real leaders are willing to get their hands dirty and do whatever is necessary to inspire their team.  Those who are willing to lead by example will be able to truly own their successes as well as their failures.

Leadership requires flexibility

The only constant in corporate America is ongoing change.  The world continues to evolve in a rapid manner.  In particular, corporate America has dramatically changed amidst the coronavirus pandemic.  Work has shifted away from traditional offices to the home.  The best leaders have accepted the fact that change is the sole constant in our ever-evolving capitalist society and proven willing to pivot as necessary.

Being on the frontlines of the pandemic themselves, Brightview Senior Living recognized the importance of leadership guidance on PPE, safety protocol, and a number of other new challenges presented amidst such a rapidly evolving environment. By partnering with Dynamic Signal, now Firstup (and getting creative on rolling out a communication platform during such a chaotic time!), an astonishing 93% of all Brightview associates soon had access to all need-to-know information, procedures, regulations, inspiring work stories, and even a heartfelt message from their CEO on the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, demonstrating how associates hungered for closer connections with the company and its leaders.

“We wanted this for a long time. But when the pandemic hit, we all understood the greater sense of urgency. It means so much when our leadership is able to speak directly to all of our frontline associates during such a challenging time.”

– Jennifer Peters, Systems Training Specialist, Brightview Senior Living 

Flexibility is essential to leadership success. Those willing to adapt to change will put their company and the employees beneath them in a position to excel, maintain a competitive advantage, and win more market share.  From implementing new technologies to shifting to remote work and supervising those in different age cohorts, leaders must be flexible in every regard.  A willingness to bend without breaking is essential to workplace success in 2021 and beyond.

Leaders are now recognizing the importance of employee wellness

It was not long ago when corporate America was laser-focused on profit and little else.  However, times are changing.  According to Glassdoor, 87% of employees expect their employer to support them in balancing work and personal commitment. The millennial age cohort, in particular, seeks more of a work-life balance than their baby boomer predecessors.  In short, humanity is changing in unison with the workplace’s evolution.

Managers and supervisors who prioritize employee needs while navigating an ever-changing workplace earn their keep in their respective leadership roles.  In fact, 96% of employees believe showing empathy is an important way to advance employee retention, as empathy and employee engagement are inextricably linked (Forbes). Those who put the bottom line over employee well-being inevitably end up with a reduced worker retention rate, high turnover, and unnecessarily elevated labor costs that ironically take a significant chunk out of the bottom line.

The top 20 skills for success in corporate America

  1. Concentration – Zero in on well-defined goals and relentlessly pursue them.
  2. Preparation – Put in the time and effort necessary to reach the targeted goals.
  3. Flexibility – Be willing to adjust plans as necessary considering the dynamics of the situation.
  4. Motivation – An energetic leader with intrinsic motivation will inspire others to give their all.
  5. Prioritization – Designate what is most important and pursue it with passion.
  6. The Ability to Change – The best leaders embrace change as not only an inevitability but also as a stepping stone to progress.
  7. Innovation – Creativity, and irreverence for convention are essential to modern-day success.
  8. Cooperation – The best leaders are willing to work with others regardless of differences in pay grade.
  9. A Willingness to Learn – Elite leaders attend seminars and training sessions to expand their horizons.
  10. Patience – A willingness to wait is essential in a society that is increasingly moving toward on-demand results.
  11. Resilience – Stay the course no matter what hurdles arise!
  12. Emotional Intelligence – Emotional maturity highlighted by self-awareness is central to growth as a professional and as a person.
  13. Empathy – Empathy brings employees together, creating a family-like atmosphere.
  14. A Willingness to Listen – Communication is a dialogue as opposed to a monologue.
  15. Selflessness – Put the collective interest ahead of self-interest for the greater good of the company.
  16. Clarity – A clear vision for the enterprise sets a realistic objective to strive toward.
  17. Humility – Real leaders understand the bigger picture rather than strictly focusing on their own personal interests.
  18. Authenticity – Authentic individuals are trustworthy, credible, and respected.
  19. Versatility – Elite leaders have skills that extend beyond narrow expertise.
  20. Cultural Intelligence – Leaders must be willing to expand their cultural horizons and prove willing to understand the cultural nuances of a truly diverse workforce.

Learn from other leaders

Get real-world advice from business leaders who transformed their digital employee experience (DEX) by gaining executive buy-in at every step. Learn how they leveraged employee data and built support across the company to achieve their goal. 

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Dawn Heiberg

As Content Marketing Manager for Firstup, Dawn started out working in creative agencies, then transitioned to consumer brands, with experience leading projects for Wizards of the Coast and Disney theme parks. Now focused on the tech industry, her passion is planning, creating, and sharing engaging content that helps move the needle.

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