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With technology evolving at full speed, power skills are critical for IT leaders




With technology evolving at full speed, power skills are critical for IT leaders

Presented by Skillsoft

IT leaders must be technical ninjas, but in today’s fast-paced technological revolution, the key to conquering their careers lies in the power of soft skills. To learn more about the right mix of technical and soft skills needed to motivate teams, drive business results, and more, don’t miss this VB Spotlight.

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Power skills are the evolution of what we used to call soft skills, and they are no longer nice to have. It’s the non-technical skills that help people make better decisions, be more flexible, solve problems more effectively and communicate better with their teams, cross-functional colleagues and the C-suite. Reframing them as “power skills” highlights how critical they are to a business leader’s development and career trajectory – even if their role requires significant technical expertise.

“Often, power skills are the secret sauce that can make or break a team’s ability to be effective and a leader’s ability to move the organization and teams to influence the kinds of organizational changes and business outcomes that are especially critical important in a competitive market like today. ” explains Koma Gandy, VP of leadership and business portfolio at Skillsoft.

How power skills influence organizational goals

Complex social interactions are part of the workplace, so power skills like empathy, negotiation and effective communication become critical rather than complementary, said Okey Obudulu, CISO at Skillsoft. Today they are both required and expected for professional growth and organizational success.

For example, the security team must collaborate at all levels of the organization, up to the C-suite and the board, as well as externally (for example, with auditors) to effectively deliver the security program. And as part of all that, team members must put these power skills into practice, having fruitful conversations that help achieve safety goals while maintaining the cordial working relationships that are important for continued success and satisfaction.

“We cannot be divorced from the reality of the organization, its objectives and what people across the company want to achieve,” says Obudulu. “And by using some of these power skills during our interaction, we help the organization and the people within the organization to better deepen that safety culture, because with that deepened safety culture comes an improved safety position for the organization.”

It becomes really important that CISOs continue to improve the effectiveness of their communications and tailor communications strategies to effectively reach these diverse audiences, recognizing that this is an ongoing area of ​​increasing and improving skills.

The top skills for every technical leader

With every interaction with teams across the organization, IT leaders must consider how they prefer to be accessed, how information should be packaged and delivered to make it as meaningful as possible for each audience. This means that empathy must be a fundamental skill.

Empathy is one of the very important skills that we must bring to our daily lives,” Obudul explains. “So as a safety leader, I try to understand from the people I interact with what their pain points are, and I think that will make me a more effective safety leader.”

For example, users often see security controls as obstacles to getting their work done. Empathetic leaders consider the impact of their security strategies and take that into account to find the least disruptive solutions.

“To the extent that we implement controls that we haven’t carefully discussed, that may be overbearing and may not be necessary in some situations, without deploying the skill of empathy, we don’t think about those things and I think we are less effective as security professionals,” he adds.

As part of that empathetic perspective, creative thinking is another crucial power skill. Not only does it help leaders solve problems creatively, it also allows them to create an inclusive environment where people feel like they can contribute, regardless of their role.

Gandy also points out that major think tanks like the World Economic Forum often talk about the key job skills that will be needed in the workplace of the future, and the majority of them are power skills such as analytical thinking, innovation, problem solving, leadership and influence and so on.

“The things that really come down to making or breaking team effectiveness have to do with those power skills and the recognition that the workplace we entered ten years ago, the workplace of five years ago, is not the workplace where we are in now. she says. “In terms of proximity, geography, hybrid versus personal, intergenerational, people who remember the beginning of the internet versus people who never knew a world without cell phones or social media – how do you bring all those people together to to solve problems where everyone feels like they belong, that their individual talents and individual things that they bring to the table are valued in a way that creates high-performing teams when you’re dealing with so many factors?

Developing powerful skills

These skills are critical, Gandy adds, but they are also learnable and can be practiced until they become inherent.

“That’s why I’m so passionate about it being an ongoing process and not a static point in time,” she says. “And just because you’re a really great communicator in a personal world where everyone you worked with was at your fingertips, that’s not where we are now, and communication is completely different. And it’s okay for you to evolve, as long as you keep evolving. That’s really the key.”

An essential part of this evolution is receiving and offering mentoring and feedback, she says. Every leader needs feedback as they grow. Furthermore, it is crucial to develop and flex that muscle because the higher they go in the organization, the more impact their words have. Mentorship is also a two-way street.

“Looking for trusted people whose advice you like and also forces you to do a little introspection may make you feel a little uncomfortable, but that’s okay, that’s part of the growing process,” she says. “Ask that mentor: What are some tools that make you feel like you’re getting value out of the minutes you spend and that will get you where you need to go?”

AI and the future of power skills

As AI becomes increasingly ubiquitous in organizations, IT leaders play an especially important role in ushering employees into the future of work and developing power skills.

“One place IT leaders can help is to recognize that people across the organization will have varying degrees of experience and enthusiasm for these new technologies, because people are caught between fear and fascination depending on where you are in the organization. is located, what your comfort is. with technology, where you are in terms of your functional roles,” she says. “IT leaders can play a critical role in helping people across that fear and fascination spectrum embrace and take advantage of opportunities to learn and grow and ask questions. They can be ambassadors within the organization to help people learn and help people be more effective in their work, as many of these power skills will inevitably be affected or changed by the spread of rapidly changing technology.”

To learn more about the ways AI is impacting the way power skills are developed, real-world examples of power skills effectiveness, and more, don’t miss this VB Spotlight!

Watch for free on demand!


  • How cultivating power skills can empower IT leaders to tackle complex technical challenges
  • What skills improve leadership effectiveness, as well as collaboration, adaptability and strategic decision-making
  • Actionable AI-based strategies for developing power skills across the organization


  • Okey ObuduluCISO, Skillsoft
  • Come GandyVP Leadership & Business Portfolio, Skillsoft
  • Elisabeth HendriksonModerator, Venture Beat