Leaders’ flexible thinking takes on new importance

Leaders’ flexible thinking takes on new importance

Report reveals greater emphasis on “cognitive readiness”, continuing importance of critical reasoning, and important skills gap among potential leaders.

The results emerged from a survey of 466 leaders from some of the world’s most prominent organisations. The biennial review ‘Trends in Executive Development’ was published by Pearson.

In 2014 the report showed that the most important skill for potential leaders was the ability to create a positive, engaging and inspiring vision for the organisation’s future.

This year’s report shows that those classic leadership skills are still highly valued, and there’s a continued importance of critical reasoning.

However, increased emphasis is placed on flexible thinking, as executives develop new approaches and skills to cope with changing markets and technologies.

“While critical thinking has remained a key focus for leadership development, the fact that cognitive readiness has also emerged as a top area for development clearly reflects the changing world that organisations are operating in,” commented Karen Chiang, Vice President of Emerging Markets at Pearson.

“It’s the ability to apply strategic thinking, decision making, creativity and problem solving in ever-changing complex situations that distinguishes leadership.

The challenge for organisations is how to instil these skills into all levels of the organisation; starting from the recruitment stage of entry level employees through to senior management.”

The study also shows that employees value leaders who can create a positive, engaging and inspiring vision of the organisation’s future.

In addition, the survey highlights the skills that potential leaders most often lack. Almost a third of respondents say they think that being able to attract, hire, and retain talent is an important skills gap of emerging leaders.

“2016 Trends in Executive Development: A Benchmark Report” is the result of collaboration between Pearson, Executive Development Associates (EDA), and Performance Assessment Network (PAN).

What leadership skills or competencies are most important in your organisation? Do you have a process for assessing cognitive readiness amongst your leadership team? 

Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.



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