New World Leadership Skills

This article has been written by Umran Beba, with contributions from Lale Boz.

None of us expected that 2020 would bring a pandemic that would disrupt our daily lives and shift working conditions to the home environment. A new crisis, increasing unemployment, health and mental well-being becoming more important than ever before, and future uncertainty has added a different dynamic to the relationship between employees and employers.

Instead of the old style of a hierarchical system, new leaders have the responsibility towards creating a positive change within their organization, caring for the people and world together, and thinking beyond financial goals.

New world leadership is defined with skills such as change agility, adaptive mindset, being a data-based strategist, having a global perspective, having the curiosity to continuously learn with purpose, having and showing empathy, and believing in the power of many.

Agility & Adaptive Mindset

The first attribute of new world leadership comes from change agility and an adaptive mindset. One of the aspects of building adaptive mindsets is through adapting to the fast pace of technological changes. In the book “The Fourth Industrial Revolution” by Professor Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), it is explained that these new technologies will impact all disciplines, economies, and industries, and even challenge our ideas about what it means to be human.  According to the Mercer Report, published in 2020 as “Global Leadership Trends”, one of the most important components of a leader that creates value is being able to change easily, find solutions quickly and adapt to the new reality smoothly. Also, the change of location and displacement of global production centers, political and commercial upheavals between countries, inflation, devaluation and adverse effects on purchasing power, and natural disasters caused by climate change are some of the other main reasons pushing for a quick adaptation.

Being a Data-based Strategist

The new world leader is also a data-based strategist. Having relevant data and making plans according to data insights increases efficiency and creates a quick response to the change in behaviors, attributes, and expectations of consumers, customers, investors, and employees. Being an insights-driven leader helps to create better solutions much faster than depending on intuition or circumstances.

Having a Global Perspective

Creating global relations and connections is the third factor that contributes to the new world leadership. It is vital to gain new knowledge and skills, acquire certifications to keep up to date, to be a leader that adds value with reading and expanding vision on different subjects outside of their field. In this component, the Mercer Report adds the importance of organizations offering training to employees to help them gain new diverse skills without necessarily needing to find new employees for a new job every day.

Having and Showing Empathy

Furthermore, the relationship between the employer and employee is evolving continuously with the need for transparency and authenticity. According to the “Empathy in the Workplace” research by the Center for Creative Leadership, “empathic emotion as rated from the leader’s subordinates positively predicts job performance ratings from the leader’s boss.” After analyzing data from 6,731 managers from 38 countries, the research states that empathetic emotions of the leader increase the job performance, however this relationship is stronger in developed countries and cultures more than the others such as New Zealand and Hong Kong

Big Picture Thinker

The new world leader does not only value his or her own time but also thinks of the organization at every step, with the downfalls and rises, the leader makes everyone feel as a part of the bigger picture and vision.

To sum up, the new world leadership is about having an adaptive mindset and creating solutions to stay ahead of change, collecting and using the necessary data for better solutions, having a global perspective and connecting with people worldwide, having a curiosity to learn more every day, having and showing empathy, and believing in the power of teamwork.


Klaus Schwab. The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Portfolio Penguin. 2017.

The Mercer Report. 2020 Global Talent Trends Study. 2020

William A. Gentry, Todd J. Weber, and Golnaz Sadri. Empathy in the Workplace

A Tool for Effective Leadership. Center for Creative Leadership. New York. April 2007.