What are the new soft skills that every leader needs to be successful?

The most efficacious leaders in the finance industry today are those that have both the technical excellence and interpersonal skills to drive success within their team, organisation and wider sector.

However, we are continuing to face a challenging skills gap, so much so that this has even been referred to recently as a “skills canyon”. This is a worrying analysis of the talent market, but there are certain skills you can build up in order to stand out from the crowd. Interestingly, research from Gartner suggests that to narrow the digital finance skills gaps, finance leaders need to improve their ability to quickly react to immediate skills needs rather than focusing too far ahead.

Within the current talent pool there are a number of highly skilled professionals, but do you have the new soft skills needed to help you level up your career?

Effective communication

The changing nature of the workforce has forced leaders to consider new forms of communication and how to use these effectively. There needs to be a careful balance in managing your own tasks and communicating effectively to the rest of the team. You need to be a strong communicator who can regularly update and inform reporting lines and managers while engaging with junior members of the team too.

Effective communication also requires you to be just as engaged in listening as you are in reporting back. Our ways of working have changed, and so will the needs of your team, so ensure you are engaged and able to support your team across each level of the business.


Being prepared and able to work through periods of change requires you to build up the core skill of adaptability. You need to be able to mirror the fast-paced, dynamic nature of your organisations demanding schedule. This is emphasised particularly on the interim side of a business where deadlines are tight.

If you are not able to pivot, adapt to and focus on new ways of working, then you will ultimately be left behind as teams innovate and mould to the demands of the industry.

Adaptability is a critical skill for organisations in a post-pandemic world. Coupling this with resilience means that you can bounce back from adversity and turn challenge into opportunity. The ability to quickly consider the options in front of you and chart a new course is of particular value to finance professionals.

Critical thinking

The ability to think critically will be key to finance leaders in a post-pandemic world, and being a problem solver will set you up with an advantageous edge. Hand in hand with this is in ensuring that you are motivated and driven so that you can withstand any obstacles or challenges that arise.

Business environments today are becoming increasingly fast-paced, so the ability to be able to make well-informed decisions under pressure is critical for the modern finance professional. You need to be able to take a view of business decisions as part of a wider, holistic approach, thinking objectively about each function of the team.

These aren’t necessarily new skills, but their importance has increased and should be a core focus for finance leaders moving forward. It’s no longer enough for you to stick to what you’re familiar with. Of course, playing to your strengths and sticking to where your experience lies is key, but to be a successful leader in a post-pandemic world, you will need a range of dynamic skills that will place you above the noise in what continues to be an employer-led market.

If you’re searching for the right individual for your organisation, then get in touch today to see how our consultants can support you.

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