Poll Results: What do you believe is the most important skill for a leader to possess?

21st January 2021

Over the course of the last 6 months Berwick Partners have run a poll exploring the priority traits for leaders. And what a period it has been.

The question we asked was: What do you believe is the most important skill for a leader to possess?


With workforces subject to disruption by lockdowns, distributed working, furlough and redundancies, there has rarely been a more challenging landscape for leaders to navigate. While leaders aren’t expected to have a readymade map for unchartered waters, they do need people to follow and stick with them as they figure out the best route. With more than 47% selecting it as the prime skill for contemporary leaders, it is clear that strong communication skills are the means to keeping workforces together, motivated, and aligned to shared objectives.

Communications alone does not carry firms through choppy waters. It is the means for leaders to share and deliver the prevailing business strategy, and exert careful judgement in commercial decision making. Nearly a third placed strategy and commerciality as the prime leadership skill. In careful balance, they create the path for people to follow. The elements of purpose, vision, values, creativity & innovation all feature as leadership priorities. With the ongoing challenges of Covid, Brexit and recession, work has indelibly changed to being a thing we do where ever we are, over and above a place that we go. Leaders must continue to evolve too.

Matt Cockbill leads the IT & Digital Leadership Practice for Berwick Partners.