Six most important working life skills for leaders and supervisors - Academy of Brain

Managerial Work & Leadership

Academy of Brain’s online learning tutorials are based on behavioral and social science research and practical experiences. Our online trainings develop important future working life skills. We aim to improve employees’ interaction and management skills as well as their way of handling pressure. Academy of Brain’s online learning tutorials are based on behavioral and social science research and practical experiences. 

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Six most important future working life skills for leaders

The demands of working life and leadership have risen due to an increasingly complex and constantly changing work environment. There are certain future working life skills that are particularly important in leadership. The top experts of Academy of Brain, psychologist Ville Ojanen and senior management coach Jarmo Manner, present the six most important work-life skills for future leaders.

1. Coaching leadership

Coaching leadership is a comprehensive approach that guides all leadership.

The goal of a coaching leader is to act as an enabler of success, removing obstacles from the employees’ way. This can be achieved by giving the employees more authority and resources, by supporting them in figuring out solutions by themselves, and guiding experts in harnessing their full potential. The key benefits of coaching leadership include the organisation’s improved ability to react, increased motivation among the personnel, and harnessing the potential of the entire work community.

How do I adopt it?

Everyone can adopt a coaching leadership approach. It all begins with dialogue in which we discuss things directly, concretely and with serious thought. A leader should also ask for feedback on their performance. It’s also important to reflect on your work and think about the future together with the team. At the next level, the coaching methods are implemented for all supervisors in the work community. Finally, the system of leadership can be reformed to include coaching working methods.

At the same time, the autonomy of individuals is increased, and operating models are reshaped. These new practices should be observed and measured alongside the implementation of suitable reward system.

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2. Work community skills

Work community skills include giving feedback, resolving conflicts, influencing, facilitation and teamwork skills.

Positive work community skills promote complex thinking and community spirit among your employees. When an organisation has good work community skills, the employees work well with each other: they contemplate and discuss with each other, enjoying working in groups. This leads to increased profitability and improved customer service. A leader’s good work community skills will also improve the quality of feedback discussions: people start to view feedback as a shared learning conversation.

How do I adopt it?

The key to work community skills is keeping the ball rolling: things need to be made constantly visible and brought up regularly. In other words, the job of a leader is to maintain a conversation about what their team is doing. All areas of work community skills rely on this principle. This increases the employees’ sense of psychological safety, which makes them more willing to learn, act and take sensible risks. It’s also important to bring up difficult matters for discussion and agree on how the situation should be evaluated the next time.

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3. Self-knowledge

A leader’s self-knowledge includes awareness skills, motivation, stress management and recovery skills.

Good self-knowledge helps a leader control their behavior and modify it flexibly. They should be aware of the emotions a situation elicits in them and how their behavior affects other people. With retrospective self-knowledge, you can reflect on your actions, motives and work with deeper self-understanding afterwards. Self-knowledge also makes it possible to define a constructive long-term focus that will help the whole team utilize their resources efficiently.

How do I adopt it?

Leaders can develop their self-knowledge by reflecting on their work and thinking. This will make it easier for them to understand their behavior, understand the benefits of the big picture, look at long-term goals, and, first and foremost, act calmly and consistently.

Leaders that have an access to a mentor or a coach, could get reflection help from them. Otherwise leaders can write down notes on their behavior in a diary. They should at least ask themselves the following questions: how did I act in a past situation? What worked and what didn’t?

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4. Problem-solving skills

Leadership is largely about bringing people together to solve problems.

Difficult situations in work-life are often complex dilemmas and contradictions which have no simple solutions. It’s important for leaders and supervisors to keep balance between conflicts of perspective, cultivating willingness to try things, and inspiring the right kind of atmosphere within the team. A key ability is inspiring employees to consider problems slowly and curiously, trying to outdo previous solutions. When a leader’s problem-solving skills are in order, they’re able to maintain a long-term focus, keep things running smoothly and reduce the number of conflicts.

How do I adopt it?

Leaders can develop their problem-solving skills by investing in personal mind management. They can consciously practice slower information processing with ease: just stop to think. Recognizing what’s behind an issue and the reasons why they think the way they do. They have to adapt their existing mindset to fit the needs of the present in order to make better decisions. It’s also beneficial to learn different ways of looking at an issue for a more comprehensive view. They can for example use a dilemma framework or a decision tree as an aid. 

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5. Influencing the mood

The ability to influence moods consists of emotional skills, leading emotions, appreciation, trust and security.

Based on research, it’s apparent that people’s productivity and ability to act are strongly dependent on the mood around them. When a leader has good emotional skills and knows how to lead emotions, it has a positive effect on the work community’s mood: people are smiling and accomplish more, unbothered by stress. In a good atmosphere, people stay healthier, and the number of sick leaves is halved. The three most important mood factors that maintain the employees’ ability to work are appreciation, trust and security. The atmosphere is also built by channelling emotions. It’s important that leaders know how to recognise emotions and bring them up for discussion.

How do I adopt it?

As a leader, you should make it a daily habit to think about how appreciation, trust and security are shown in different situations. Moving on, you should think about how your work community can better understand these factors. Instead of using the usual mood polls, use people as sensors – the human brain is the most effective indicator of mood.

In order for leaders to have real contact with their employees, relationships have to be good. This can only be accomplished by building appreciation, trust and security when interacting with people.

Our online trainings on influencing the mood:
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6. Future skills

Future skills are closely linked to change, selfdirection, vision, renewal, and growth.

Future skills develop your work community’s capability to adapt to changing environments in the future. These skills can help your organization adapt to changes with less effort. From the standpoint of systemic thinking, working is seen as an interconnected field of interaction. Leaders equipped with strong future skills can inspire change and adjust social systems. This type of development of leadership is available for anyone.

How do I adopt it?

Learning attitude and curiosity are essential for learning future work-life skills. For example, researchers, who have a humble and curious attitude towards their subject, strive to prove their premise wrong to make progress. In a similar manner, leaders should challenge their assumptions and approach things with curiosity. You can practice this by choosing a topic that interests you in multiple ways and you haven’t set fixed opinions on yet. Then, try to develop your approach towards the subject. Try to also introduce yourself to things that can help you find a new approach on the chosen topic.

Our online trainings on future skills:
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Muuta mieltäsi

Academy of Brain muuttaa mielesi käyttäytymistieteelliseen tutkimukseen perustuvien valmennusten avulla. Verkkovalmennukset kehittävät tärkeimpiä työelämätaitoja, hyvinvointia ja itsensä johtamista. Opit palautumaan ja keskittymään sekä parannat vuorovaikutustaitoja, johtamista ja tapaa toimia määrätietoisesti paineen alla. Sisällöt keskittyvät psykologisten taitojen (soft skills) kehittämiseen. Tässä muutamia esimerkkejä sisällöistämme, jotka ovat kaikki palvelussa käytössäsi:


  • Aikuisen unikoulu
  • Paranna palautumistaitoja
  • Käytännön mindfulnessia
  • Arjen mielenhallinta
  • Painonhallinnan psykologia

Itsensä johtaminen

  • Ajankäytön hallinta
  • Keskittymiskyvyn ABC
  • Muutos haltuun – Kehitä paineensietokykyä
  • Mindset


  • Parempaa palautetta
  • Näin ratkaiset konfliktit
  • Valmentava johtaminen


  • Läsnäoleva vuorovaikutus
  • Huipputiimi
  • Psykologinen turvallisuus
  • Digitaalinen vuorovaikutus ja virtuaalitiimit
  • Persoonallisuus työelämässä

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Smart-Tutorial™ courses give a good overview of the subject and offer practical tools for work. Compact courses include videos, text material and exercises.


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The experts behind
Academy of Brain

The Academy of Brain has assembled its own team of experts to ensure that the online training content is based on strong expertise, scientific research and hands-on experience.

Ville Ojanen


Ville is a psychologist with a PhD in cognitive neuroscience. He has more than a decade of experience in the areas of change management and psychological working-life skills training.

Minna Huotilainen


Minna is a professor of educational sciences at the University of Helsinki and at CiCERO Learning Network where she uses neuroscientific methods to understand the role of memory and attention in learning. In addition, she leads the international Master’s Programme in Changing Education.

Jarmo Manner


Jarmo has a master’s degree in economics and is an executive coach and organizational consultant. He has 15 years of leadership experience and 20 years of coaching experience with individuals, groups and organizations.

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