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What does good leadership look like in a world of perpetual Disruption? A study by Korn Ferry gives us some clues, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Leaders must build “a more caring and empathetic workplace” to thrive, according to the study, which blended the Drucker Institute’s statistical model for corporate effectiveness with 34 separate metrics and more than 20,500 psychometric assessments of CEOs and other leaders.

The results? As Rick Wartzman and Kelly Tang report, a list of 20 traits and 30 competencies deemed common to companies who rank high on the Drucker Institute’s model.

Embracing Uncertainty Is More Important than Ever

Important for an age where Assumed Certainty has transformed into Known Uncertainty, ambiguity now places in the top five for both categories. “Tolerance of ambiguity” still “had the strongest positive correlation … with the Drucker Institute’s best-scoring companies, just like it did in 2020’s top five traits. But “manages ambiguity” was a new entry in the top 5 list of competencies.

Other new entries in that top five list of competencies included “Global perspective,” “interpersonal savvy” and “instills trust.” They replaced “builds effective teams,” “drives engagement,” “communicates effectively” and “cultivates innovation.”

The report defines traits as “personality characteristics central to who a person is,” while competencies “are observable skills that come naturally to some but can also be attained and honed with experience.”

Personally, I think “cultivates innovation” remains a top competency. And I find it extremely interesting that “curiosity” replacing “openness to differences” was the only change among the top five list of traits.

Either way, the results are clear. In a world where Disruption is the new normal, leaders must prepare to handle ambiguity.