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Adaptability, Curiosity, Creativity: the must-have skills for leaders in the digital age

May 11, 2022

Leaders setting out to reshape their companies to compete in a rapidly evolving digital world often come to a daunting conclusion: to transform their organizations, they must first transform themselves. That’s what the authors of a recent research published by Harvard Business School found.

The survey showed that 71% of the 1,500 executives interviewed in more than 90 countries said adaptability was the most important leadership quality in these times of digital transformation. Roundtable discussions with nearly 200 executives echoed the findings.

Respondents also ranked creativity, curiosity, and comfort with ambiguity as highly desirable characteristics. “It’s the soft skills that I argue are not soft anymore,” said the chairman of a major African retailer at one of the 21 global roundtable discussions we held with leaders of digital-first and incumbent companies.

Qualities needed for the digital age:

  • Adaptability – 71%
  • Curiosity – 48%
  • Creativity – 47%
  • Comfort with ambiguity – 43%

Source: Harvard Business School