Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.
Peter Drucker

The pressure is on leadership teams to lead in an era of disruption and constant change. Organizations are investing in future growth by developing the leadership skills needed to drive organizational success. It is no wonder that the World Economic Forum identified complex problem solving at the top of it’s “Top 10 Skills for 2020.” The best leaders have the best skills and tools for solving difficult problems, making complex decisions and implementing strategic change.

Can leadership skills be learned and improved? While some leadership characteristics are innate, good leaders need support in honing skills and learning new ones.

Two key capabilities can be addressed to improve leadership in any organization, the ability to:

Bring clarity to complex issues

Problems are never planned and effective leaders are not shaken by them. They need the skills to unpack the calamity systematically and give their teams the hard facts on the situation. Leadership means allowing clarity to be established and then setting the path forward. It is the art of slowing down so that you and your team members can speed up—in a way that promotes an effective and sustainable solution.

Solve problems quickly

All great leaders know that luck is not a strategy. A solid problem-solving process is the key to finding sustainable solutions. The 5 Whys, Fishbone Diagrams, 8D and Kepner-Tregoe are among the processes relied on to get to root cause. Proficiency requires good data, teamwork and practice. A great problem-solver always has the opportunity to yield extraordinary results. 


Help your organization develop strong leaders.In our NEW Leadership Development Toolkit, we’ve provided some resources to help you analyze and evaluate the importance of these skills in the workforce. Learn more.

Preparing leaders for the future

To future-proof your workforce, employees must be ready to take on the jobs of tomorrow.  Any change from the status quo tests both the agility of the organization and its leadership. In order to be an effective leader, employees must be prepared to develop the right strategy and implement it effectively. For those moving into leadership roles, climbing the career ladder must include learning specific skills that empower them to lead and act in the face of change.

Senior human resources and strategy officers identify complex problem solving, critical thinking and decision making among the top leadership development skills needed to thrive in near-term and long-term business environments. 


Leadership is work. All work is process. All processes can be described. Anything that can be described can be learned and mastered, including leadership. All it takes is the commitment and the will to take the risk and do the work.

 –KT Client CEO


Great leaders credit Kepner-Tregoe for developing career skills

It is not unusual for leaders who have mastered our critical thinking processes to credit us as a key factor in advancing their careers. Kepner-Tregoe’s data-driven thinking processes are a foundation for developing effective leadership skills. A great way to develop a skill set of core problem-solving and decision-making capabilities is through practical application. Leaders and their high-performance teams learn to think clearly together, with a common language and process to:   

  • Solve difficult and complex problems with speed and efficiency
  • Make tough decisions that are aligned with operational priorities
  • Quickly triage complex situations, identify high-priority issues and plan resolution
  • Proactively manage risks and opportunities

Because we partnered with KT… we are in a much better position to leverage change and make it work for us.
 —Senior Manager


Once proficient, leaders have a framework in place to handle the complex issues facing their organization. Get started on your journey with our NEW Leadership Development Toolkit and prepare your organization for the future.

Learn more.