Harvard says these leadership skills are crucial. How many do you possess?

21st October 2014

Harvard recently tweeted their answers to the question: “What leadership skills do you need most?”

The most important were:

  1. Inspires and motivates others
  2. Displays high integrity and honesty
  3. Solves problems and analyses issues
  4. Drives for results
  5. Communicates powerfully and prolifically
  6. Collaborates and promotes team work
  7. Builds relationships
  8. Displays technical or professional expertise
  9. Displays a strategic perspective
  10. Develops others

So here’s my Tuesday Tip for the week: “There you go. That’s the list. Just be better at all of them.”

Ok, not too helpful. So how about this instead?

I imagine that, as you read the list, you were thinking ‘do I do all these?’

And, assuming you don’t do all of them, the approach here is to either:

  • choose 1-2 from the list and work on those; or
  • identify 1-2 underlying skills which, if you improved them, would make you better at lots of the above list

Being the communication-obsessed geek that I am, it jumped out at me how communication underpins the vast majority of the list. The better you are at inspiring, leading, motivating, up-skilling and working with others, the more impactful a leader you will be.

So here’s a useful question to ask:

“What communication area would my team like me to improve on, so I become a better leader?”

You could ask yourself this question, of course.

Or you could ask your team.

And, since one way to judge a leader is to look at how impressive their team is, improving your communications to them will make a huge difference – to both them and you.

Action point

Identify the one area from the list where an improvement would have a big impact (the ideal: the improvement’s relatively easy to make. You want maximum benefit for manageable input).

Then, bust guts to improve at it. If it’s communication-based, let me know and I’ll give you some pointers. If it’s something else, identify the best, easiest and quickest way to become better at it – coaching, training, mentoring, ask the Office Superstar for advice, and so on.

Then of course help yourself remember to do it – peer support and recurring diary reminders are always a useful start.

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