5 essential skills to lead in a VUCA world

In today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world, do our classic leadership models still work?

Not really, according to Ashridge Professor Vicki Culpin. Leaders need to develop the resilience to keep going when everything around them is constantly changing. Vicki proposes five skills that are vital to be able to lead successfully in a VUCA world.

1. Developing a shared purpose

The ability to build teams where employees have a shared purpose and vision is key. Leaders need to help their people to understand the bigger picture and how they personally fit into it.

2. Learning agility

Tomorrow’s leaders need to be willing to stretch themselves out of their comfort zone and be open-minded enough to rapidly embrace new concepts.

3. Self-awareness

Leaders need an understanding of their own strengths and areas for development and the impact their communication and working style has on others. The ability to be authentic and show your true self at work is key to building trust.

4. Leading through collaboration and influence

Success often depends on working with people over whom you have no official authority. Tomorrow’s leaders need high-level influencing skills and the ability to collaborate with a wide range of stakeholders.

5. Confidence to lead through uncertainty

The ability to assess acceptable levels of risk and make decisions based on incomplete or even conflicting information is key. Managers also need the ability to learn from mistakes and to allow others to do the same.

Hult International Business School
Hult International Business School
Ashridge Executive Education