Leadership skills are developed through time. They are built through a willingness to learn and, likely, some mistakes along the way.
These skills can be narrowed down to a list of competencies. Each executive or leadership competency model contains about the same message; leaders should be confident in their abilities to lead others, the organization and themselves.
MRG has been following the same list of 20 executive competencies for more than 30 years. There are few things we can say we have held onto for that long, but this list stands the test of time.
Organizations looking to prepare their next generation of leaders should have one for reference. An established list is helpful in identifying which qualities you want to nurture in your high potential employees and which qualities may need development. So, if you don’t have one, use this one. Add the unique traits you believe are needed to succeed in your organization.
In depth problem solving and analysis: Solves difficult problems through careful and systematic evaluation of information, possible alternatives and consequences.
Championing change: Takes action to support and implement change initiatives effectively.
Driving for results: Challenges and pushes the organization and self to excel and achieve.
Influencing and persuading: Convinces others to accomplish organizational goals and objectives.
Managing others: Directs and leads others to accomplish organizational goals and objectives.
Organizational savvy: Recognizes and understands organizational politics and works within organizational dynamics to accomplish objectives.
Business acumen: Understands general business and financial concepts, understands the company’s business and uses general and specific knowledge to be effective.
Integrity: Upholds a high standard of fairness and ethics in everyday words and actions.
Courage of conviction: Has the personal courage to address difficult issues in the face of potential opposition.
Presentation skills: Has the skills to effectively communicate to an audience in a formal setting.
Continuous learning: Strives to expand knowledge and refine skills through education and training. Inspires others to develop and refine knowledge and skills relevant to their work.
Talent development and management: Develops individual abilities by coaching, mentoring and advising; challenges others to improve; addresses performance problems and grooms executive staff for advancement.
Flexibility: Demonstrates adaptability and openness to alternative solutions and flexibility when interacting with others, understanding their attitudes, needs, interests and perspectives.
Delegation: Clearly and comfortably delegates both routine and important tasks and decisions; broadly shares both responsibility and accountability; tends to trust people to perform; allows direct reports and others to finish their work.
Directing others: Good at establishing clear directions; sets stretching objectives; distributes the workload appropriately; lays out work in a well-planned and organized manner; maintains two-way dialogue with others on work and results; brings out the best in people; is a clear communicator.
Decision making: Makes good decisions (without considering how much time it takes) based upon a mixture of analysis, wisdom, experience, and judgment; most of their solutions and suggestions turn out to be correct and accurate when judged over time; sought out by others for advice and solutions.
Listening: Practices attentive and active listening; has the patience to hear people out; can accurately restate the options of others even when they disagree.
Sizing people up: A good judge of talent; after reasonable exposure can articulate the strengths and limitations of people inside or outside the organization; can accurately predict what people are likely to do across a variety of situations.
Managing vision and purpose: Communicates a compelling and inspiring vision or sense of core purpose; talks beyond today; discusses possibilities; is optimistic; creates mileposts and symbols to rally support behind the vision; makes the vision shareable by everyone; can inspire and motivate entire units or organizations.
Written and oral communication: Able to write and speak clearly and succinctly in a variety of communication settings and styles; can get messages across that have the desired effect.