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Celebrating 50 years of Building High Performance Corporate Teams - 1971 to 2021

Next Generation Leaders – What do they look like in 2021 and beyond?

By May 11, 2021No Comments

What does the portrait of a Leader look like in 2021 and beyond? 

With the many changes in our world of work over the past year The World Economic Forum in the Future of Jobs Report 2020 states the top skills and skill groups that have been required to be effective working remotely are in critical thinking, analysis and self-management.   This means that employers will be needing their employee population to learn to ‘self manage using skills such as active learning, resilience, stress tolerance and flexibility.’

In addition, The World Economic Forum report states that in the future state of the workplace, ‘To address concerns about productivity and well-being, about 1/3 of all employers expect to also take steps to create a sense of community, connection and belonging among employees through digital tools, and to tackle the well-being challenges posed by the shift to remote work’.

In order to make this shift, leaders will need to understand and appreciate the effort it will take to returning to the workplace, continuing to work remotely or a blend of the two.  In addition, it will be key to prioritise team effectiveness and to lead with purpose.

In a recent Forbes article, a global survey of 4,000 employees found that 63% want their employers to spend more on health and well-being initiatives.  Employers who do so stand to gain big in terms of employee satisfaction and loyalty.

As people return to work this arrangement will look differently to different people and to different organizations.  As leaders of organizations, it is absolutely essential to consider all you can do to help employees through this phase of the pandemic by providing employee wellbeing support programs. It is important to reflect on the leaders of the future and what will be of critical importance for their full engagement and ultimate success.

According to a Gallup survey, (March 31.2021 Ed O’Boyle) Gen Z and Millennials (1989-2001) now make up nearly 50% of the full-time workplace in the U.S.  The same is probably true in Canada.

As organizations strategize their talent management plans for this next generation of future leaders, the #1 concern for Gen Z and Millennials is their wellbeing.  To this next generation of leaders, their wellbeing includes being healthy both physically and mentally.  I am grateful that the discussion about mental wellness has become just as important as physical wellness, especially after what we have all experienced living through this COVID pandemic.  Looking into the future, the post-pandemic organization will require leaders to adopt a growth mindset, remain curious, adaptable and resilient in a world that is ever changing and the ability to thrive in a virtual environment.  In addition, social and personal implications as well as the implications on careers have required leaders to develop new skills to be successful and to differentiate themselves.

As a leader, what leadership skills do you need to develop?

According to the Gallup survey about What Employees Look for in Their Employer by Generation’, the ability of leaders to be empathic and resilient will be in demand over the next 5 years, so leaders are encouraged to assess their current skill levels through engaging a leadership coach to help uncover how they show up when it comes to empathy and resiliency.

In the article, the 5 elements of wellbeing Gallup identified as having been disrupted over the past year are: career, social, financial, community and physical.  Many employees will have faced changes and challenges in all aspects of the 5 elements and so many have not been able to live that life where they could grow and thrive.  This is where being resilient will have been challenging for not just Gen Z and Millennials over the past year but all other generations too.  Learning about their own emotions and other’s emotions, and acknowledging and managing stress in their lives are key components to building their wellbeing into the future.

It would make sense for organizations and their current leaders to collaborate with their Gen Z and Millennial groups to design wellness learning and development programs as a key factor in growing this next group of leaders. The world has forever changed over the past year and so has the way leaders must adjust and develop their leadership style in this new world to motivate and engage their people to do their best.

What are you doing to build your leadership skills?

About the author: Sheila Smith is a Certified Executive Coach and a Certified Genos Emotional Intelligent Practitioner.  For a complimentary 30 minute coaching discovery session, contact Sheila Smith, S2HR Consulting at 519.221.1781 or .


  • World Economic Forum: The future of jobs report 2020, October 2020
  • Gallup Article on 4 Things Gen Z and Millennials Expect from Their Workplace, March 31, 2021 by Ed O’Boyle
  • Forbes Article November 9, 2020 The Top 10 Skills Recruiters are Looking For in 2021