7 Leadership Skills The World Needs

The term Leadership was hijacked some time ago. If you walk into a room of 40 people and ask them to define leadership, you’ll get 40 slightly different definitions.

But, as we all know, leadership is critical to moving anything from where it is today to where you want it to be tomorrow. That is why, in a world that is changing so quickly, everyone is trying to define the necessary leadership skills or attributes needed to succeed. Forbes, The Harvard Business Review, and endless authors around the globe have been watching the trends and trying to identify the leadership skills that are thriving in the world today.

leadershipI’m often asked to speak about this idea of 21st Century Leadership and the necessary attributes for compelling and effective leadership. Although there is still no secret sauce or one-size-fits-all approach, the best teams and organizations are committed to gaining clarity on the attributes or skills they want to strengthen throughout their culture. Then, they create experiences to engage the minds and hearts of their people and help them make the connections to behavior.

Here’s a quick snapshot of 7 Leadership Attributes trending positively in today’s world. A 21st Century Leader is a:

  • Servant Leader — one who approaches his/her work with the heart of a servant. They flip the traditional “top down” model of leadership upside down and put themselves at the bottom of the pyramid. Their daily actions an an empathetic-listener and community-builder develops a culture of high trust or care. They seek to understand the views of others.
  • Storyteller — one who uses vivid illustrations to communicate clear, purposeful, and actionable messages that are connected to mission and vision. They help connect the past, present, and future in a way that compels others forward. They use stories to move people.
  • Collaborator — one who realizes they are an important piece of the puzzle but do no “have all of the answers.” They recognize that leveraging the strengths and gifts of others is how teams and cultures move from good to great.
  • Innovator — one who practices an ethic of creativity that challenges the status quo. They practice innovation daily in their own work and use positive questioning to dwell in possibility and stimulate progress. They see their life and work with new eyes.
  • Dardevil — a self-starter who lives the words of the poet Eugene Ware, “All glory comes from daring to begin.” Not recklessly — but courageously — they put ideas into action to improve a greater mission or purpose. They bring talk into action that moves things forward.
  • Adaptor — one who welcomes change with a positive and forward leaning spirit. They are able to adjust in the present moment to external forces — move beyond linear thinking only — and keep a purposeful and holistic view of each situation. They embrace change.
  • Global Citizen — one who sees the world beyond their immediate location and experience. They put their leadership actions into motion where they are, but also think about the big picture and how their individual actions can serve the needs of the whole.

The world is in great need of 21st Century Leaders!

I guess it’s time for all of us to keep practicing.

Travel Gracefully,


Jason Barger is a globally celebrated author, keynote speaker, and leadership consultant. More importantly, he’s striving to be an above average father, husband, and friend. 

Follow on Twitter @JasonVBarger and learn more at JasonVBarger.com