Future leadership competencies: from foresight to current practice

Emma O'Brien (FuturePresence, New Farm, Australia)
Phillipa Robertson (FuturePresence, New Farm, Australia)

Journal of European Industrial Training

ISSN: 0309-0590

Publication date: 8 May 2009



With tectonic plate shifting change and continuous uncertainty, a reliance on leadership competencies rooted in the past will no longer be successful. Instead, it is argued that the emerging business environment now demands a new set of leadership skills that are aligned to the requirements of the future. This paper aims to address these issues.


A foresight orientation was taken to identify leadership skills necessary for success in the near future. Based on in‐depth analysis of key business, societal, organisational and leadership trends, nine key leadership competencies were identified. An exploratory study was then conducted to assess the current level of future leadership capability in a diverse sample included of current and emerging leaders from a variety of organisations across Europe and Asia Pacific.


Results suggest that both current and emerging organisational leaders are significantly under prepared for the challenges ahead.

Research limitations/implications

The present study provides a starting‐point for further research exploring the leadership capabilities needed for success in the emerging business environment.

Practical implications

It is argued that unless organisations begin to cultivate requisite skills for the future, they will inevitably forfeit their potential for future success.


The paper adds clear value to the field of study due to its unique futures perspective and orientation, in addition to its practical applications.



O'Brien, E. and Robertson, P. (2009), "Future leadership competencies: from foresight to current practice", Journal of European Industrial Training, Vol. 33 No. 4, pp. 371-380. https://doi.org/10.1108/03090590910959317

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Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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