Leadership Skills
Two Top Ten Lists for Leaders

What are leadership skills? What skills do leaders need to learn to be successful, effective leaders?

Before I give my answer to these questions, lets just remember that some people believe that leaders are born, not made. Others believe that qualities are more important than skills - that followers will follow a leader with the right leadership attributes, even if they don't have highly developed skills.

My view? I believe that the best leaders are committed enough to develop both the skills and the qualities of good leadership and that one can complement - even compensate for - the other. At least to some extent.

So, its really important to learn the skills of leadership. It can give you an edge over the others (who haven't bothered to put in the work that you have).

And lets also just remember the difference between skills and qualities. We learn skills. They enable us to do things that we couldn't do before. Qualities describe us as people. We can develop and improve our qualities but we do this mainly through reflection and self-determination.

It could be you

OK, now for the skills. I like to separate the skills of leadership into two lists - those needed by two different leadership types - transactional leaders and transformational leaders.

Transactional leaders work within strategies, structures, policies and processes. Transformational leaders make change happen and are not constrained by current boundaries within organisations.

So, here we go. These are my top ten skills that transactional leaders need to be successful:

  1. Setting goals and objectives.
  2. Planning tasks and activities to meet goals.
  3. Communicating with teams and individuals.
  4. Recognising other peoples' strengths, limitations and potential.
  5. Organising work and delegating to others.
  6. Inspiring (motivating, persuading) others to act to meet goals.
  7. Giving and receiving feedback.
  8. Reviewing performance.
  9. Resolving problems.
  10. Continually improving processes.

And these are my top ten skills for transformational leaders:

  1. Creating a long-term vision of success.
  2. Creating strategies and plans.
  3. Thinking creatively.
  4. Inspiring others to act in accord with the vision.
  5. Communicating direction.
  6. Facilitating change.
  7. Building consensus.
  8. Developing teams and individual talents.
  9. Driving achievement and performance.
  10. Reviewing and celebrating success.

The key thing about all skills - including the skills of good leadership - is that they can be learned, and improved with practice. On this site I will point you towards resources and development methods that will help you learn these essential leadership skills.

There are plenty of other lists of leadership skills, such as:

I'll be adding links to more lists here, in time.

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