Career ColumnsCareer Power-UpCareer SkillsCareers

Five Leadership Skills Your Employees Want More of in 2024

By Paige Kassalen

When I entered the workforce, it was the time of the millennial shockwave. Since then, we’ve had two decades of millennials, a global pandemic, and now gen z entering the workforce. Employees want more from their leaders when it comes to emotional intelligence and soft skills.

Technical competence can only get you so far. If you don’t have the ability to be a leader people want to follow, a supplier customers want to partner with, and a person people generally want on their team, then you won’t be able to move the needle to achieve your organization’s goals, no matter what your title is.

We still have a lot of 2024 to go, so here are five leadership skills your employees want to see more of this year:

1. Vulnerability

Leaders are strong, and in 2024, being vulnerable is a way to be a strong leader. Vulnerable leaders are able to break down their own barriers, admit their mistakes, and know when to ask for help.

No one is perfect, even at the highest level of leadership. Therefore, when you’re willing to be vulnerable with your team, you show that you trust them, and in turn that they can trust you.

This dynamic creates a culture of open and honest communication where team members support each other to get the job done. We need more of this in 2024 to keep our teams operating at a high-performance level.

2. Show Appreciation

Recognition and praise for your team are the some of the best investments you can make as a leader, because vocalizing appreciation creates a positive culture where team members directly hear that they are valued.

At the start of all-hands meetings, my teams open the floor for “shout-outs.” Anyone can call out any accomplishment since the last meeting and thank someone for their work. This can last for five minutes, or it could take a whole half an hour.

Providing and capitalizing on opportunities to show appreciation for your team is a leadership skill we want to see more of in 2024, so maximize these instances when you can.

3. Awareness

Awareness is a broad term, but leaders in 2024 should exemplify awareness in every manner. They should be aware of how they are perceived by their team, how their requests fit into overarching priorities of the organization, and what their team is working on.

Your job as a leader is to remove roadblocks to make your team as efficient as possible. When you’re an aware leader, you are extremely tuned into these roadblocks, meaning that you are not only able to better remove them for your team, but you can also ensure you aren’t creating more barriers for them as they execute.

4. Team-member Mentality

When you are a leader, you are an extremely important part of the team, and in 2024, your teams expect you to be actively involved in helping them accomplish the goals that you set for the organization.

I once was working with a project lead who wanted our team to wrap up a project two weeks early because it would make the company look good to the client. When the team was putting in long hours, the project lead was nowhere to be found.

This was a demotivating experience and the team never put in this level of effort again. The team leader set an ambitious, arbitrary deadline, but was not willing to provide any support to accomplish the goal.

In the modern workforce, if you want your teams to work hard, you need to show them that you are part of the team, too.

5. Empathy

Last year was difficult for the tech sector. Funding was difficult to secure for start-ups, and mass layoffs at the tech giants made professionals at all levels feel uncertain about their futures.

Transparency, honesty and proactive communication are just the first steps towards being a strong leader in these situations. You also need to be empathetic.

In 2024, your team wants to know that you understand how these decisions are impacting their day-to-day lives, or else you risk losing the talent that remains in the organization. Saying something as simple as “I know this is difficult, but we will get through it, and I am going to go out of my way to help” will go a long way.

The bar to be a great leader has jumped in the past years. New generations and the ever-changing job landscape in the tech sector have created demand for leaders who have a stronger set of soft skills than previously required.

It’s time to turn vulnerability into your strength, show your appreciation for your team, be aware of how your requests impact the team and your organization, remember that you are also part of the team, and understand that even though difficult decisions were a business necessity, that you can still be empathetic in your communication.

2024 is the year to live up to the challenge and embody all things required of a modern leader.


Paige Kassalen

Paige Kassalen has an electrical engineering degree from Virginia Tech and a Master of Information Systems Management from Carnegie Mellon. Kassalen began her career as the only American engineer working with Solar Impulse 2, the first solar-powered airplane to circumnavigate the globe. This role landed Kassalen a spot on the 2017 Forbes 30 Under 30 list along with feature articles in Glamour, Teen Vogue, and Fast Company. Since Solar Impulse, Kassalen worked in the manufacturing and finance industries to create implementation strategies for a range of emerging technology trends from autonomous vehicles to machine learning. She was the Chief Operating Officer at CrowdAI, a start-up named by Forbes as one of the most promising AI companies in 2021. CrowdAI was acquired by Saab, Inc. in 2023, and Kassalen now serves as the Chief of Staff for the strategy division.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button