Are you developing your leaders with the future's super skills?

Ann O'Mahony 22.05.2017

Are you developing your leaders with the Super Skills of the future?

I spoke at a leadership and management development conference organised by Skillnets and Waterford Chamber of Commerce. It was a highly engaging day with some great speakers talking about different facets of leadership and management development.

In his presentation on Excellence in Management & Leadership Development, Michael O’Leary, Organisational Development Specialist with the IMI spoke about what excellence in management and leadership development should look like.  Below are some of the key points which I took away for the morning.

Some of the global trends in the world of work are personalisation and experiential. We are looking at a future world of work where the work force is staying at work longer, jobs are disappearing and lifelong learning and renewal is demanded by employees.

Creating management and leadership development programmes in this changing world requires pulling the threads of best academic practice into real world solutions for a business.  As a base line by focussing on the the 4Cs you will ensure that you are developing the super skills of the future. 

The Four C’s


Creativity has always been at the heart of business, but until now it hasn’t been at the top of the management agenda. In the changing world of work developing creativity and the capacity to innovate in leaders will be crucial for companies to stay competitive, improve business performance and make a positive difference in the world.  Organisations led by creative leaders have a higher success rate in innovation, employee engagement, change and renewal.  

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking has always been a sought-after attribute of leadership and as the rate of complexity in the world rises it has become even more of a prized trait.  Critical thinkers question assumptions and look to find the “what” and “how” behind every proposition.  This allows for the identification of new opportunities which can add to the bottom line.

One of the most crucial areas where the ability to think critically is in managing ambiguity.  The speed of business means not always having visibility of all the variables of a given situation - a critical thinker will be comfortable operating in such an environment where rapid decisions are required.


Collaboration has surpassed command and control leadership and the world’s most successful leaders guide their organisations through a shared purpose and vision.  Linked strongly to creativity – leaders who manage through collaboration for creativity bring together multi-talented groups of people who work in close collaboration exchanging knowledge, ideas and shaping the direction of the future.  Retention rates soar.

[Video] The best leadership style: collaboration or directness first?


It is simply impossible to become a great leader without being a great communicator.  Great leaders might talk about strategy and idea but do so by speaking to the emotion and aspirations of the audience.  No message will take root much less championed unless it is clearly understood. The best communicators are great listener and sharp in their observations.  They are skilled at reading a person or a group and they possess an ability to adapt their messaging to a changing environment effortlessly.  This heighten sense of situation and context is the common denominator trait in the great leaders of the world. 

Ann O'Mahony's picture
Operations Director