The pandemic years triggered a shift in the worker mindset that employers must heed. But what are the leadership trends for this year and beyond, and how can organizations prepare?

The relationships between leaders and subordinates will never be the same. There is a demand for new approaches from the C-suite to frontline employees. Without change, it will be tough to attract and retain top talent. The rising trends point toward a more ethical direction and hybrid management. Others focus on workers’ health, well-being, and leadership development that adapts to the above.

The US workplace is changing at a rapid pace. This article explores the future leadership trends and growth areas for the coming years and provides an understanding of the why, plust how you can prepare for them. But first, a look at why change is necessary.

Issues with the Current Leadership Model

A change happened to the way people viewed work during the global pandemic. Many came to a realization that their job was simply a means to an end, a necessity. A Gallop report reveals that 60% of workers today are emotionally detached, and 19% are plain miserable [1]. This state of mind helps explain the job-hopping phenomenon among the younger cohorts. If they must have a job to make ends meet, not because they have an investment in the business, why not look for one that provides the best benefit to their lifestyle? The current leadership model is failing to capture and keep engaged employees.

Leadership Growth Areas Need Rethinking

A 2022 McKinsey survey found that the current leadership styles are responsible for worker discontent. Indeed, 34% leave their jobs because of uninspiring, uncaring leaders. Other reasons cited were the lack of ongoing training and professional development [2].

Leadership Competency Review

According to 195 global leaders, soft skills and emotional intelligence are critical traits. A Sunnie Giles survey suggests that all strong leaders exhibit five competencies, namely:

  1. High ethical standards and safe working environments
  2. Empowering individual employees to self-organize
  3. Promoting connection and a genuine sense of belonging among workers
  4. Open to new ideas and training
  5. Committed to employee career development and intellectual growth [3].

These poll results illustrate the point in percentage terms grouped into five themes. It shows that the strongest leadership provides focus for attending to basic human needs than strong arming authority.


There are others, but combined, these leadership attributes come to the same conclusion. That being, creating an environment that employees consider safe, rewarding, and trustworthy.

Major Workplace/Industry Issues

Organizational issues pose challenges that can be difficult for some companies to overcome. They are often the result of leadership incompetencies or a refusal to embrace and manage change. Resolving issues creates a happier, healthier workspace that benefits all. But before management can address the problems, they must first recognize the symptoms.

Here are seven common organizational issues caused by out-of-touch leadership.

#1 High staff turnover: employee discontentment with management and leadership.

#2 Poor teamwork: leaders, supervisors, and managers lack effective people skills.

#3 Productivity: unrealistic demands create stress inducers, affecting output.

#4 Lack of role specification: misunderstanding team capabilities and individual strengths.

#5: Poor process management: inflexible leadership; ignoring employee feedback.

#6 Unhappy customers/clients: Weak leadership disengages frontline employees.

 #7 Low innovation: Dated leadership fails to motivate the post-pandemic workforce.

There are otherwise great leaders that suffer due to outdated management approaches. And new leadership trends are driving the post-pandemic workforce. So, for companies to thrive, they need to identify and develop lynchpin leaders with the capability to steer the organization forward.

Leadership Trend: Identify and Develop Lynchpin Leaders


Companies that invest in talented management develop transformational leaders. Training and professional development are vital if lynchpin leaders are to steer organizations through the post-pandemic American workplace. At the center of modern leadership is a methodology that puts people before profits. And that begins with better communication skills, people management, and relationship building. Remember, every business relies on the performance of its workers to succeed.

Plans that embrace people-first strategies help create transformational leaders. Such leaders inspire and motivate employees to take control and be innovative. And that helps companies build trustworthy reputations, secure leadership pipelines, and develop leadership succession plans. Moreover, a happy workplace attracts new talent and retains star performers.

Training Industry | Case for Leadership Development
Managers who support employee growth and development expand access to skill development and leadership prospects[4].

The new generation of lynchpin leaders is essential in today’s fragile and unpredictable workplace. They are the ones who hold everything together.

EWF Helps You Build Diverse Leadership Pipelines

EWF is on a mission to change the face of US leadership for the next three generations. Let us help shape and equip your organization’s transformational leaders in a post-pandemic workplace. Our transformational leadership development programming creates leaders who make a real impact. They smash barriers and drive results at both personal and organizational levels.

More Here on EWF’s Transformational Leadership Development Programming

Every organization must have a detailed plan before implementing effective leadership skills training. It is how you build diverse leadership pipelines and retain key workers. This section looks at the essential processes needed to draw a workable plan. The aim is to improve future management skills and competencies in early-to-mid-level leaders.

What’s the Plan—Be Specific

The best plans use a sustained approach for leadership learning and development. They forego broad stroke training and offer specific training tailored to the individual or team. That could be to increase worker motivation and retention rates, diversity and inclusion, or to fill gaps. Or, you want to navigate change better and accelerate professional growth with in-house talent.

How to Address Your Plan

The 70-20-10 model is an excellent way to start your approach leadership growth plans.

  • 70% of skills knowledge developed by on-the-job learning initiatives
  • 20% involves group and or personalized coaching and mentoring
  • 10% of leadership development focuses on training

A simple action plan like this keeps workers focused on the areas of utmost importance [5]. But how do you choose who to include in your learning and development initiatives?

ID Suitable Candidates 


You must ID suitable candidates to get the most out of your leadership training and development drives. You may have some excellent employees, but some might have already reached their potential. Ask yourself if the person has the drive, ambition, and skills—or potential to learn—for the role in question.

Ideally, you want people with high potential and higher performance. There are six characteristics to look out for that check all the right boxes:

  • Fully engaged in their work
  • See failure as an opportunity to learn and grow
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Displays a sense of humility
  • Natural ability to motivate others
  • Effective multitaskers

Before approaching anyone, you have to present your plan and its goals.

Leadership Growth Goals

Every leadership development plan aims to achieve something specific within a set timeline. The structure may focus on the long-term and be personalized to align with an employee’s needs. Whatever the goals, your plans should outline the learning objectives and the actions needed to reach development milestones.

Your development goals must also distinguish between leadership levels. For example, transformational leadership focuses on how to lead your people and organization, and is suitable for senior leaders. While skills development programs focus on the hard leadership traits and skills for successful early-to-mid-level leaders and rising talent.

Examples of leadership trends for development goals include the following:

  • Expand knowledge in specific areas of leadership
  • Develop soft skills (critical in the post-pandemic workplace)
  • Become proficient at time management
  • Practice responsibility and accountability
  • Big-picture thinking

Your plan may be to develop leadership skills and competencies as they pertain to your people and organization. But the best-laid programs focus on more than just organizational succession planning. They also work on developing leadership positions for all levels.

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Measuring KPIs helps identify and hone skills that need working on. What KPIs you use depends on the aims of your leadership development programs. For instance, that could be bi-monthly accountability reflection and monitoring performance metrics. KPIs are critical for those in charge of leadership growth initiatives and personal valuation.

KPIs work best when measured at set periods, i.e., per week, month, quarter, and yearly. This way, you can scale up frontline metrics into a collective view for comparison.

Who’s Involved

Experienced leaders drive learning and development initiatives. And departments, along with HR, facilitate individual and team development areas for leaders.

Get Buy-In from Stakeholders


Leadership development plans work best when there is buy-in from the company’s key stakeholders. That typically includes senior leadership and the directors and managers of targeted employees or teams. Therefore, the best approach is to engage all critical stakeholders as early as possible.

It could be a hard sell, so prepare a clear justification for your key employee development initiatives. And remember to highlight all organizational benefits, including the ROI.

How to Ensure Their Success

Successful outcomes are not an option but a necessity. To ensure candidate success, use learning opportunities to close current and future skills gaps. Think broadly on who to target with what training and invest in programs for all talented employees. Companies that invest in and prioritize development projects are the ones that thrive. It’s also what the post-pandemic workforce expects. So organizations that invest in people retain key workers and attract new talent.

The global pandemic changed the world of work, and it continues to evolve at an unprecedented rate. Staying on top of today’s leadership development trends is critical to the future growth of US businesses of all sizes. Continual development and training of current and future leaders will protect your company and its people.

Here are the five leadership development trends that will dominate 2023 and beyond.

#1 Continual Investment in Leaders and High-Potential Staff

Continual investment in employee development empowers workers and retains your top talent. Research by Zippia saw that 83% of firms now consider leadership development at all levels critical to survival. Yet, despite the statistic, only 5% have implemented high-quality coaching and development initiatives across the board. Even so, US businesses are spending $166 billion on key worker development annually [6].

Those who jump on this trend will have a significant edge over their competitors.

#2 Building a Culture Around Remote Workers

Some companies embraced working with remote teams during the pandemic, while others were less keen. But remote and hybrid work arrangements are here to stay. One study saw a tripling of global job listings with a remote component. Thus, leaders should have remote company cultural goals that align with prospects regardless of geographic location. Moreover, a flexible, functional remote culture creates a larger talent pool to choose from [7].

#3 Employee Physical and Mental Well-being

This is another of the future leadership trends that cannot go ignored. Poor well-being has a detrimental impact on productivity, so it makes sense to look after the well-being of employees. Some US companies have already recognized the effects of this through the pandemic and Great Resignation and are upping their game to support wellness in the workplace through various practices. Some include flexible working hours, work-life integrations, health benefits, wellness programs, and others.

In 2021, 98% of US companies offered employee access to mental health resources [8].

#4 Technology Innovation and Advancement

Transformational leaders embrace technological innovation to realize its potential for expansion into productive work environments. Being agile and adaptable to new technologies ensures a competitive advantage over rivals. Conversely, leaders who overlook technological trends can create skills gaps and barriers to efficiency in organizations. And that results in workplace disharmony.

Fear is often the enemy that creates human barriers to technological and other workplace innovations [9].

#5 Soft People Skills

Growth and development have always focused on interpersonal people skills. However, the soft skills leadership trends now encompass more areas to meet the needs of a changing workforce. For instance, the transformational leadership model includes change management, critical thinking, emotional intelligence , and a growth mindset. Others are resilience, empathy, and DEI+B (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging).

Keeping on top of soft skills trends benefits leaders, those they manage, and productivity. Also worth noting is that employees working under leaders with heightened emotional intelligence are more innovative, creative, and happier [10].

Six other leadership growth trends to keep an eye on are:

  1. Self-paced eLearning initiatives
  2. In-person and online learning programs
  3. Shorter micro-learning courses
  4. One-on-one mentoring
  5. Talent retention strategies
  6. Cognitive leadership skills

All new trends place workers front and center of leadership growth initiatives. That means full employee engagement, gender equality, and DEI+B. Together, leaders and HR departments can make the most of these new post-pandemic leadership trends to attract and retain staff.  

EWF Corporate Programming for Early-to-Mid-Level Leaders

EWF International provides you with a complete leadership development ecosystem. Our corporate custom programming for early-to-mid-level leadership development helps strengthen vital competencies. EWF experts will equip and empower your rising talent with the post-pandemic skills needed to fill and diversify your leadership pipelines. But there’s more.

Learn About EWF’s Curriculum-Based Leadership Development Training

These leadership trends provide helpful insights and highlight the needs of today’s work culture. The pre-pandemic trends for leadership are gone. A new, people-focused, and transitional leadership approach is the only way to attract and retain talent in the future.