As organizations continue to define what the new world of work is, it is becoming increasingly clear that leaders (and employees) will need different skills to thrive. This new environment relies more heavily on technology and includes more hybrid work. Even organizations who require their team members to be in the office will have to communicate and collaborate with customers and vendors who have selected different work models.  

So how prepared are leaders? Deloitte’s 2023 Global Human Capital Trends report found that only 23% of organizations feel that their leaders have the skills necessary to lead in today’s context.  

What’s Required to Succeed?

Traditionally, leaders have required competencies falling into two categories: 

  • Business IQ – The knowledge and skills related to their industry, function, and general management practices, like strategic planning and execution.  
  • Emotional IQ – The ability to understand and manage their own emotions, and the ability to recognize and positively influence the emotions of others.  

The global health crisis and the accelerated digital disruption it has caused have changed the context for what leaders need to know and be able to do related to both Business IQ and Emotional IQ. It has also revealed a third emerging category of competencies required to lead in the virtual world—Digital IQ. 

Digital IQ is the sum of social, emotional, and cognitive abilities that enable individuals to face the challenges of digital work and life, adapt to its demands, and thrive as a leader. There are five key skills that leaders need to succeed. 

  1. Using technology to communicate and collaborate virtually: This involves being able to select the right digital communication channel based on the type of work to be done, and fully leveraging tools to communicate and collaborate in an efficient and effective way (i.e., those that maximize productivity and minimize tech-driven stress and exhaustion).  
  2. Engaging and developing individuals and teams in all locations: Achieving equity for and inclusion of all workers—whether remote, face-to-face, or in combination—and ensuring that corporate culture transcends digital-physical borders.  
  3. Leveraging technology to drive continuous improvement and innovation: Understanding digital trends and identifying use cases to evolve business models, operating models, client experiences, and employee experiences.  
  4. Working in agile ways: Adopting processes that value speed over perfection, and embracing the concepts of minimum viable product, iteration, and fast failure.  
  5. Using advanced analytics to make better decisions: Moving from using data to describe what happened and why it happened to being forward-looking and identifying what will likely happen and what you should do about it. 

Call to Action

To close this gap, organizations should start by building awareness around the concept of Digital IQ. They should then measure existing capabilities using tools like 360° assessments. Next, based on those results, they should prioritize critical areas for development and identify traditional solutions (like training) and less-traditional solutions (like reverse mentoring) to close gaps.  

For more insights on how to prepare your leaders to succeed in the new world of work, please feel free to reach out to us anytime at


About HORN
HORN is a boutique firm that specializes in creating transformative change that elevates the performance of organizations, leaders and sales professionals. We transform cultures and capabilities by better customizing our solutions to the specific needs and context of our clients’ business and people. Our mission is to provide transformative organizational solutions and unforgettable personal learning that profoundly shifts how people think, work and lead. For over 35 years, we’ve been catalysts in shifting thinking, behavior and performance of thousands of leaders across six continents, 48 countries and every major industry. Learn more at

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