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Three Leadership Qualities Organizations Seek in a Post-Pandemic World

Discover the surprising skills top managers need now.

The pandemic impacted the entire world … and changed it. Many people lost their jobs. Many others were forced to embrace new technology as working from home became the norm overnight. People working in business management faced supply chain issues, conflicting local and national regulations, and communication challenges. Some organizations shuttered while others grew as COVID-19 spread.


In a post-pandemic world, successful companies won’t just shift back to “business as usual.” Instead, they will lead the way in creating a better world. These are the three leadership qualities that thriving organizations are seeking now.

1. Sustainability. “Many of the root causes of climate change also increase the risk of pandemics,” said Dr. Aaron Bernstein, Director of Harvard Chan C-CHANGE (Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment).1 2020 brought not only COVID-19, but also extreme weather events, from huge wildfires in Australia and the U.S. to an uncommon number of hurricanes in the Atlantic to unprecedented monsoon flooding in China, and the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone ever recorded: Super Typhoon Goni in the Philippines.2

All of these events underscore the urgency of climate change. And successful organizations understand the need to take action now. Roberta Barbieri, vice president for global sustainability at PepsiCo, said, “The pandemic has only reinforced our resolve for the speed and breadth of what we need to do on sustainability.”3

2. Resilience. Nothing ever stays the same. So, the ability to adapt and recover when confronted with change is a key skill that organizations and leaders must develop. COVID-19 highlighted the importance of resilience. Some organizations took swift action at the start of the pandemic, and then as it continued had to continually pivot in response to changing guidelines and regulations.

Along with the pandemic, many organizations encountered other challenges, including economic downturn, talent shortages, political unrest, and the social justice movement. Through it all, resilient leaders took swift action while also keeping long-term goals in mind.

Resilient leaders can even increase their teams’ resiliency, providing great value to their organizations. A study found that “direct reports of highly resilient managers display[ed] 2.7 times the resilience of those working under low-resilience managers.”4 And those team members were found to be more innovative and to have higher performance levels than individuals managed by team leaders with low resilience.

3. Innovation. Innovation is always a key leadership skill, and the pandemic showed that innovators could survive or even thrive amid the crisis. 2020 saw auto manufacturers producing ventilators, hotels offering day rates for work-from-home employees needing a quiet space, restaurants focusing on curbside delivery, and everything from education to Broadway plays moving online.

While those changes may have been driven by necessity, innovation under any circumstance can create new products and services, drive growth, and increase value—all of which are critical for successful organizations. Innovative leaders can also find new ways for organizations to be sustainable and resilient … which can in turn create yet more opportunities for innovation.

Leadership skills can be gained through experience and bolstered through education. A Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree or PhD in Management can help business professionals apply theory and research to address problems found in all areas of management.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Doctor of Business Administration degree program online. Choose from multiple specializations, including Leadership. The curriculum for this DBA online degree area of study includes seminars in change management and sustainability and courses that delve into the role of innovation in successful businesses.

In a post-pandemic world, thriving organizations are seeking top-level leaders with business management skills. Earning a DBA online can help position you to take the next step up in your career.

Walden University is an accredited institution that offers Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) and PhD in Management programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.


Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,