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Good Leadership Skills ... Which Are Your Strengths?

A question frequently asked by visitors to this site, is along the lines of, "Can you give me a list of the good leadership skills I should have?" And, I've always thought that is a bit tricky to answer. Because leadership skills can be a little situation dependent and each individual has different strengths that can enable him or her to shine.

For example, one of the leadership qualities in the list below is strategic thinking ... and yet one of the very best leaders I ever worked for wasn't known for the depth of his thinking! And he now heads up an the European division of a large multi-national.

Certainly, he too realized this wasn't his strength and so surrounded himself with great people who were excellent at thinking strategically. However, what he was absolutely brilliant at, was inspiring people to believe in the vision and believe in the importance of their specific role and their individual contribution to the success of the entire team.

In other words, he wasn't very good at setting and planning strategic direction, but he was mighty powerful at bringing the plan and the strategy to a successful result.

So, with the disclaimer of ... there is no ONE set of good leadership skills that define success, I decided to review the criteria used in Performance Evaluation Programs (of just under 20 companies that I have worked with in the past few years).

The list below contains the recurring set of traits, characteristics and qualities of good leadership skills that these organizations looked for in their leaders.

Please do not expect to excel in all these leadership qualities and characteristics.

→ Firstly, it's impossible,
→ Secondly, you'll place too much stress on yourself, and
→ Thirdly, throughout time leaders with a wide variety of skills and characteristics have thrived.

Think of leaders like Richard Branson, Condalisa Rice, Winston Churchill, Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, Nelson Mandela, Mother Theresa ... all very different leaders ... all very successful, and all of whom may very well failed as leaders, if they had been put in each others situation.

Take a leaf out of the book of the leader I mentioned above, recognize your weaknesses, find work arounds for them and build on, and use regularly, your strengths... that is the path to a high performance team. You can read more about how to do this on the leadership strengths page.

Good Leadership Skills List
The Qualities & Characteristics Often Looked For By Organizations

  • Strategic - big picture - thinking
  • Looking for problems
  • Solving problems analytically
  • Innovating through creativity
  • Making decisions
  • Judgment even under uncertainty
  • Appraising performance
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Establishing learning climates
  • Guiding reflection
  • Offering and asking for assistance
  • Preparing others for change
  • Time Management
  • Meetings and discussions
  • Projects and priorities
  • Finances and budgets
  • Hiring and staffing
  • Leveraging technology
  • Disseminating information
  • Writing
  • Presenting
  • Public Speaking
  • Actively Listening
  • Clarifying Messages
  • Giving Feedback
  • Receiving Feedback

  • Caring for personal needs
  • Balancing work and life
  • Being self-directed and self-motivated
  • Showing self-awareness
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Planning own performance improvements
  • Having solid boundaries
  • Improving interaction with others
  • Values and principle driven
  • Dealing with ambiguity
  • Coping with complexity
  • Identifying global and local trends
  • Being a catalyst for change
  • Willingness to take sensible risks

Phew ... it's a pretty long list of good leadership skills. Be wise and do as suggested by the latest research into what successful leaders do, focus on your strengths and work around your weaknesses. Read my review of the book Now Discover Your Strengths

Pick, from the list above, those things that are your strengths (and that you love to do) and develop them more. Then create systems and strategies to overcome your weaknesses.

At the "Make a Dent" club, you can take a self assessment to discover your strengths, and whether you are working in the ideal job for you.

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