Seven Essential Leadership Skills

As a leader, one of your main challenges is to establish an organizational climate that sparks and sustains higher levels of alignment and performance, without burning out your people. This organizational climate can have many characteristics, some of which are universal and some unique to your industry or company. The leadership skills you need to develop to establish such a climate are however universal.

Using the acronym CLIMATE, here are seven universal leadership skills for you to master in order to establish an effective organizational climate…

Collaborating: Gone are the days when a leader was viewed as the “hero”, the one individual who could rescue a company or get it to achieve breakthroughs in performance single-handedly. Today, leaders who have a knack for collaborating with others to achieve a vision are in high demand.

Listening: It takes lots of patience to listen. Listening to your manager, your staff, your peers, your suppliers, your clients or customers, your industry or marketplace. The demands placed on leaders to be great listeners and to distil what they have heard into appropriate responses is forever growing. If you don’t listen, people will find someone who will.

Influencing: Leaders have a responsibility to influence others to head in the direction in which their organization has decided to go. To do that effectively, you need to be able to get into rapport with people. Remember, there can be no influence without rapport, and rapport is a two way street which involves listening to each other.

Mentoring: Developing your organizations leadership pipeline is absolutely essential to long term survival of your company. That’s why nowadays there is so much emphasis on identifying, mentoring and coaching emerging leaders. Not alone do you need to be a mentor to others, but you need to establish a climate in which mentoring/coaching is seen as an essential task of managers.

Actioning: Taking appropriate and timely action on key initiatives is at the core of effective strategy execution…yet so many organizations struggle with taking action. As a leader, you need to show what taking action means to your organizations survival and growth.

Tracking: Follow through and follow up are the essential elements in any management system that values accountability. Let things slip and it becomes a stain on your credibility. So many plans go astray due to lack of follow through, and it really doesn’t have to be that way. Don’t depend on scorecards alone to do your tracking, make follow up a one on one activity, and let people know that you will support them.

Engaging: There are so many studies available now that show low levels of engagement in organizations. This is a real shame, and if you discover the same ailment in your organization, you need to take immediate, sustainable action to remedy it before it affects your customers, clients and stakeholders. People become disengaged when they are not challenged sufficiently in their work. Give people challenging and stimulating assignments beyond their day to day responsibilities. Make sure these assignments are aligned with your organizations vision, mission and strategic goals.

Put each of these seven leadership skills in your leadership development plan and you won’t go astray.