Aspiring managers, managers, business owners, and top-level leaders are consistently focused on developing the competencies they consider to be essential in paving their way towards success. Over decades of research into leadership skills and competencies, many industry experts have begun to express their opinions on the talents that matter most when running a thriving organisation.
Although opinions on which competencies are the most essential can vary from one leader to the next, many psychological and managerial experts agree on a series of skills that seem to come together to create the “ideal” leader. So, what are considered to be the most important leadership competencies?
1. Designing a Safe Company Culture
No matter which industry you’re involved with, attracting and retaining talent is all about creating the right atmosphere. In part, this can be achieved by offering opportunities for growth and training, but it also links to the ability to design a culture of respect and trust.
According to a recent study conducted by Dr Sunnie Giles within the Harvard Business Review, an evaluation of 195 respondents discovered that gaining trust and respect in business requires both high ethical standards, and the ability to communicate expectations. If individuals feel confident that their management is fair, they’ll be more inclined to collaborate freely, opening the door to a more innovative working environment.
2. Strategic Focus
A great leader understands the plan in place for his or her business and often has a much clearer view of the steps that need to be taken to secure the future of the company. A leader with strategic focus knows how to respond well to problems within the industry, and can make quick adaptations to business plans when things go wrong. They take a long-term view of the market and translate the broad strategy of the business into meaningful short-term objectives.
A good leader also understands how to use his or her strategic focus for the purpose of making crucial decisions. This could mean taking risks on a new opportunity, or knowing when to consult peers and subordinates about their opinions.
3. Empowering Employees
Many great leaders are goal-oriented. Often, the best leaders will define a goal for their business and provide a clear direction for their staff, while empowering their team to take the steps required to achieve certain goals. Good leaders know that micromanaging doesn’t work and often limits the potential of individual employees and teams, preventing them from flourishing.
An accountable, empowered and a confident network of employees who feel more motivated to perform well, often record higher levels of job satisfaction in engagement surveys.
4. Connecting the Organisation
Great leaders endeavour to create a feeling of community within a business and design a common goal for success. When individuals feel like part of a group, they become invested, proactive and engaged in that company’s success. However, in contrast, when no unifying force is present, individuals are often less productive or inclined to reach their full potential.
5. Courage To Take Risks
Leaders in any business need to be willing to take risks for the benefit of their organisation.
To some degree, this means having a plan for success that you stick to consistently, and having the courage to express what you believe in, even when those around you are less sure.
“Fail fast” and “learn to take risks” are comments you will often hear in business settings. However, risk taking must have an end result and that is to serve the organisations overall mission
6. Fostering Organisational Development
Individuals in an organisation are vulnerable to feelings of stagnation; When it feels as though there’s no room for growth in a company, employees feel unsatisfied and unchallenged. However, successful leaders can exhibit flexibility and continually improve the status quo by introducing new learning and career development opportunities.
Fostering a space for organisational development is a key way for leaders to allow their companies to grow and develop. It’s worth noting that this also means allowing room for mistakes to occur along the way. Leaders who invest in the growth of their individuals and company are rewarded with better loyalty, higher quality work and better performance.
The chances are that there are leadership competencies we may not have covered on this list, as the definition of the ideal leader in today’s business culture is subjective. However, it’s worth remembering that all leadership competencies, like any other skill, can be taught.
Ongoing leadership training and development will build skills across the organisation.
Creating the perfect team for a successful business is an on-going challenge. However, it’s up to leaders within a company to ensure that aspiring candidates have the resources they need to thrive in their chosen positions.
With more than 30 years of experience as a global leadership and communication skills organisation, Excel Communication can help you make the most of your team with training and development solutions. We have experts that can deliver programmes across four continents in various languages. Get in touch today on +44 (0) 1628 488 854.