Leadership is often described in terms of vision, inspiration, courage, passion, dynamism, motivation, change & transformation, mobilization etc. While all these are important outcomes or facets of leadership they do not offer many clues about how to get there if one wants to develop leadership skills.
When I think about leadership, I can think about feeling responsible and doing something about it. If I think of leadership in the context of organizations I can say that to improve leadership skills one needs to get better at a range of competencies.
A leader should be able to grasp and face reality in all its complexities. The reality must cover ‘own and internal’ reality. The leader should be able to both handle and harness emotions well. He she should be able to identify and implement values. The leader should be able to generate and harness small and big ideas, generate excitement and develop them into overarching vision. The leader should be able to connect with the organization’s goals and generate breakthroughs in projects and processes. He she should be able to learn quickly and teach for developing people. The leader should be able to develop an agenda covering all above and should be able to communicate it simply and directly.
At different points of an executive’s career and depending on the organization’s situation the emphasis would shift, but I have come to believe that above competencies remain core.
Having defined the competencies in these specific terms it easier to think about ways of getting there.