Essential leadership skills for 2022

There’s no blueprint to follow for leading in a global pandemic, let alone leading into 2022 and a slow and protracted recovery, but this hasn’t stopped leaders from trying to figure out what critical soft skills they need to brush up on.

Top 2021 leadership soft skills

Analysis from LinkedIn learning shows the top leadership course accessed in 2021 was ‘Executive Presence on Video Calls’ (or as we call our 90-minute interactive workshop on this topic ‘How to make your virtuals sing’). This was closely followed by courses on strategic thinking, coaching skills and having inclusive conversations.

Leaders across the globe are coming to their own realizations that strategic thinking will always be an essential leadership skill (and rightly ‘Strategic Vision’ is one of Cappfinity’s 8 essential Altitude Leadership Strengths). However, to deliver on that strategy in a time of ‘The Great Resignation’ (or ‘The Great Realignment’ as we feel it is more accurately framed), requires a diverse, motivated and engaged team around you. So, it is great to see that learning around coaching and inclusion is also being sought out.

Real world impact data

Indeed, in recent impact data from one of our 12-month emerging leaders programs with health leaders, the areas that delegates most frequently described as having had a lasting impact on their ability to meet the leadership challenges they face were:

  • Increased self-awareness and resilience (both essential to being an authentic leader whom others will trust and be happy to follow in these turbulent times)
  • Significantly increased effectiveness in coaching, developing and empowering others
  • Greater focus on leveraging the expertise of others
  • Demonstrating courage – in particular around initiating difficult conversations in a safe and inclusive way.

Courageous leaders

A course on ‘courage’ was not amongst the top 15 LinkedIn learning solutions – which is maybe no great surprise as leaders may not instinctively think of it as something they need or can develop.

However, based on our global data gathered over more than 15 years, ‘courage’ is one of the 8 top strengths that global businesses look for in their leaders, especially in such changing times. Courageous leaders are:

  • Driven to do ‘the right thing’ rather than the expected thing
  • Speak up, even when it is risky, to avoid the wrong path being taken
  • Persuade others through the power of conviction

And as we’ve found from our work with health leaders – it is a mindset that can be developed. Encouraging leaders to use their strengths to be courageous and consider the underlying needs and strengths of those they need to have difficult conversations with, or persuade, means that leaders can be courageous AND bring people with them.

As we look through the mist of uncertainty into 2022, how will you support your leaders to think strategically – but also be courageous in how they rethink how to engage, motivate and develop their teams? This will lead to a lasting, positive, ‘Great Realignment’ – of what work means for each individual and how they can harness their strengths to flourish across their lives and deliver on strategic goals.

Take action

If you would like to speak with Cappfinity about supporting your leaders or emerging leaders with developing these essential post-pandemic skills or assessing your leadership bench-strength across the Altitude 8 Strengths, please contact