Futurist keynotes are all well and good, but sometimes, it’s simple enough to summarize tomorrow’s most important workforce trends and innovations in a matter of minutes. Such was the case when our friends at CNBC recently asked us: What are the most important professional and job skills that you need to master in 2021 and beyond?

As you can see in our most recent column for the network, the answers may prove surprising, as many fall into the realm of soft skills – not hard skills such as technical aptitude. Nonetheless, in an age of growing change and disruption, they’re only becoming increasingly more important to practice and master.

On the bright side, if you’re looking to improve your own insights and training here, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune or take months to do so. In fact, we worked with the CNBC team to identify and share five free online courses that you can take if you want to become a more effective leader going forward.

Just a few sample skills they’ll teach include:

  • Futurism – the ability to successfully project forward and plan around future events
  • Strategy – learning to build a winning business plan, and adapt it to change as new disruptions hit
  • Grit – cultivating resilience, and the ability to steer around setbacks and bounce back from losses
  • Emotional intelligence (EQ) – the ability to empathize with and understand others’ feelings and points of view
  • Communications – your ability to influence others and steer large groups of individuals towards successfully completing common goals


Of course, you’ll also want to consider acquiring a host of other helpful skills from data analysis and visualization to an ability to drive digital transformation and change management. But as a quick opener? This helpful guide can quickly put you back on the right track to business or career success, no matter what twists and turns the future takes. After all, while tomorrow may be uncertain, you always have the ability to steer it towards a more positive conclusion, and put yourself in opportunity’s sights.