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Your Leaders Want More Training in These 5 Skills


Tue Mar 12 2024

Your Leaders Want More Training in These 5 Skills

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Leaders propel their teams and organizations forward. So, it is vital to equip them with the skills required to ensure their success.

While leaders are faced with several increasing challenges and advancements like artificial intelligence (AI), these progressions also point to the importance of uniquely human skills. As organizations prepare for change, it is critical that talent development professionals play a key role in identifying and addressing critical skill gaps.


In this dynamic environment, leadership skills are paramount, and the demand for these skills continues to evolve. But while terms like “reskilling” and “upskilling” are common, they do not fully encapsulate the new transformation that is necessary to adapt and expand to thrive in an era of change.

Ahead are the crucial skills your leaders need and tips on how to provide opportunities for continuous learning.

The 5 Skills Leaders Say They Want to Develop

Leaders are keenly aware of how much uncertainty lies ahead. However, the reality is that few leaders are receiving the development they need to meet key challenges.

According to our research, these are the top five skills leaders want to develop:

  • Identifying and developing future talent

  • Strategic thinking

  • Managing successful change

  • Decision-making prioritization

  • Influencing others

Of the five skills), only 12 percent rate themselves as effective, and a mere 29 percent of companies provide training for these critical competencies. Without increased focus on leadership training in these areas, leaders are left in the dark, and organizations risk creating a skill gap that will inhibit performance and potentially exacerbate talent challenges in the coming years.


The Case for Investing in Leadership Development

The good news? When leaders do develop key skills, like strategic thinking and decision-making prioritization, their organizations fare better. DDI’s research indicates that leaders effective in all five skills are:

  • 3x more likely to engage and retain top talent

  • 2x more likely to prevent employee burnout

  • 2x more comfortable operating in a highly ambiguous environment

  • 3x more confident operating in a digital business environment

Moreover, organizations that develop these skills are 1.4x more likely to be recognized as a best place to work, enhancing their ability to attract and retain top talent. Additionally, companies that invested in developing these skills were 1.5x more likely to outperform their industry competitors in financial performance.

Where to Focus: Develop Talent Nurturers

While all five skills are crucial for leaders’ success, if companies can only focus on one, it is paramount to develop leaders' abilities to identify and develop future talent. This skill aligns with CEOs’ top concern: attracting and retaining top talent.

Key behaviors that help leaders become more effective at developing talent include encouraging a challenge to old ways of doing things, listening and responding with empathy, and maintaining high trust and confidentiality.

Companies with leaders effective at identifying and developing talent have a 15 percent higher internal hiring success rate. This highlights the tangible impact of honing this critical skill in creating a robust internal talent pipeline.



As we navigate a new era of change in the workplace, the imperative is clear: leaders need support to adapt and expand their skill sets to thrive in the evolving landscape. The skills identified here are not just a checklist; they are the building blocks of resilient and effective leadership. By addressing the skills gap, organizations can not only weather challenges posed by AI, but also create a workplace culture that attracts and retains top talent, ensuring sustained success in the age of technological advancement.

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