Building leaders of the future


Leaders that regularly encounter difficulty along the way also develop extraordinarily higher levels of resilience than those that don’t.

What are the cornerstones of psychological hardiness required to build leaders of the future?

We all now live in a world that is described as VUCA; volatile, uncertain, chaotic and ambiguous. With a whole plethora of different challenges being faced on a day to day basis such as foot shortages, war, terrorism and in our work life, we require our leaders to be more resilient than ever.

Quoting the American Psychological Association: “Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, treats or significant amounts of stress”

Reading back on a book called Change Lessons from the CEO by Coetsee and Flood in 2013 where 27 CEO’s from the UK and Ireland were interviewed, it was clear that those that did encounter the most problems in their lives displayed much higher levels of resilience. Difficulties continually challenge us and in doing so, also strengthen us. Over the years I have met countless CEO’s that have each had deep-rooted issues somewhere along the way, whether it be family problems, dysfunctional childhoods all the way through to emotional trauma – all have said that they had grown from these aspects of their lives.

In this respect, I’d say that they’d learnt the 3 cornerstones of psychological hardiness that makes a great leader:

Challenges – Where great leaders turn what would appear to be threats into opportunities

Control– Where leaders have learnt from previous experiences so that they can then positively influence difficult situations that may arise

Commitment to an action – Where leaders will act based on a strong sense of personal purpose

Leaders of the future need to not only display resilient leadership but they should also have a degree of emotional intelligence too. They need to be able to discern between people and situations quickly in making judgement. A good business leader should integrate their rational assessment seamlessly into a situation using their intuition, instinct and understanding.

But what should great leaders focus on?

Build supportive relationships

Good relationships with colleagues and team members can ensure protection against things like ‘burning out’ and deteriorating mental health. Happier workers mean harder workers according to a study released by the University of Warwick– so a great leader will build meaningful relationships with their colleagues.

Skills and Knowledge

Future leaders will need a range of skills and knowledge to support their personal characteristics. Leaders of the future to look to continually build on their skills and knowledge to better perform in the workplace.

Depth of experience

The right mix of personal characteristics supported by the appropriate skills and knowledge are necessary but not sufficient. Young managers that are clearly keen to take their careers all the way to the top need experience – this experience will present in many different ways – from different roles and industries – a depth of experience is needed for future leaders to flourish.

Possess the leadership traits 

Future leaders need to possess the typical characteristics – the below are traits that are commonly found in leaders across the world today – here are a few:

  • Visionary
  • Motivational
  • Inspirational
  • Emotionally intelligent
  • Resilient
  • Trustworthy
  • Natural communicators
  • Driven and Ambitious
  • Focus

In a world where there is a constant demand for stronger leaders, future leaders should be looking to themselves to identify which traits they possess and which characteristics need to be worked on to evolve.

Here’s to the future leaders of this world.