The Top Five Leadership Competencies of Tomorrow

SEATTLE, WA (October 8, 2009) – Picture quarterbacks who can freelance their way to great plays in the face of the unexpected blitz. Or envision teachers who can keep 35 kids organized and energized even while getting them to be creative.

Now look around for the people in your organization who are, at some level, equally able to thrive amid chaos and help others prosper as well. Those will be your future leaders, suggests a major new study by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp).

Findings from the new study, recently released to i4cp members, are now available in both standard and interactive form. Respondents, many from i4cp’s member base of Fortune 1000 organizations, were asked to write in the top five words or phrases that came to mind to describe the leadership competencies they perceive will be critical in the future.

The top five leadership competencies of the future clearly emphasize fast change and uncertainty as hallmarks of the next 10 years. These competencies are:

Leadership agility and flexibility

“Tomorrow’s leaders will need to be able to manage on the fly,” says Kevin Oakes, CEO of i4cp. “Not only will they need to be mentally agile and flexible, they’ll need to instill those qualities in others, even while keeping things from becoming chaotic. I picture them as excellent business athletes.”


Another of the top five competencies is innovation. “Innovation is, in fact, one way to stay agile,” notes Oakes. “You react to changes in the business environment by doing things differently and by quickly inventing new products and services that help you gain a competitive advantage.”


In an environment where the world is awash in social media and instant messaging, leaders will need to be exceptional communicators, able to cut through the morass of information overload with well-honed messaging.

Change management

The critical nature of change management is highlighted not only in the write-ins but in other parts of the i4cp study as well. When i4cp asked about the degree to which organizations emphasize certain management competencies, it found that the more that organizations stress change management skills, the higher they score on i4cp’s Leadership Success Index.

“From this perspective, the future is already here,” notes Oakes. “Change management skills will not only be needed for the future, they’re paying dividends now.”

The i4cp Leadership Competencies study examined a variety of leadership issues. i4cp members can currently download the results via a standard PDF report or through i4cp’s exclusive Interactive Data functionality, which allows them to benchmark against other organizations according to criteria such as size of organization, market performance and leadership success. If you’d like to gain access to the report, please contact i4cp at

i4cp is also debuting other findings of the study in an interactive webinar later today, October 8, at 1:00 p.m. EDT, titled, “The Leadership Competencies That Drive High-Performing Organizations.” Sign up for free at
About i4cp, inc.

i4cp is the world's largest vendor-free network of corporations focused on improving workforce productivity. Our vendor-free community facilitates innovation by giving our members - among the largest and most respected organizations in the world - access to:

  1. Peers to spark new ideas and prevent "reinventing the wheel,"
  2. Research to enable members to understand current practices and next practices,
  3. Tools to put ideas and research into action,
  4. Technology to enable members to easily access tailored information and execute workforce strategies.
With more than 40 years of experience and the industry's largest team of human capital analysts, i4cp is the definitive destination for organizations seeking innovative ways to improve workforce productivity. For more information, visit