These skills should be priorities for emerging leaders

  • April 13, 2023
  • By WashU Olin Business School
  • 2 minute read

This blog post is an excerpt of an article Rebecca Dohrman, a senior lecturer in management communication at Olin, wrote for “Real Leaders.”


For emerging leaders, there’s a lot to focus on. Avoid getting overwhelmed by all of the potential options, which will only hinder your progress or lead to early burnout. Instead, focus on building and expanding on these three specific skills:

1. Accurately draw conclusions from data.

A tremendous amount of data is available to leaders. Next-generation leaders need to create systems—dashboards, automated reports, or live data pipelines—where they can instantly access meaningful, purposeful data and accurately draw conclusions. This kind of data goes beyond quick performance indicators. Instead, it allows the leader to study long-term trends and competitive strengths and weaknesses so that each can be handled appropriately.

2. Practice genuine empathy.

Thanks to technology, we know more about one another than ever, and we expect to get a sense of the humanity of one another. Likewise, we expect empathy in business leadership. Modern professionals want leaders who don’t see a binary split between running a business that is strong financially and respecting the diverse group of people who work there. They want both. The leaders we most admire achieve core business goals while also treating people well and building a culture that attracts and retains talent.

3. Master interpersonal communication.

Good leaders are strong communicators. People in leadership positions must be able to speak well on a public stage and communicate effectively with professionals at every level of their company—from the new hire right out of college to the senior executive they have worked with for a decade. The strongest leaders will specialize in strong interpersonal communication and will galvanize a culture behind their leadership style as a result.

Read the full article here.

About the Author

Washington University in Saint Louis

WashU Olin Business School

Firmly established at the Gateway to the West, Olin Business School at Washington University in St. Louis stands as the gateway to something far grander in scale. The education we deliver prepares our students to thoughtfully make difficult decisions—the kind that can change the world.

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