Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

In my experience—5 leadership attributes needed every day on the job.

There are myriad skills and attributes that are crucial to effective and strategic leadership. The following represents what I’ve observed as the top 5 leadership attributes or skills that are called for every day on the job:

The ability to lead versus manage—and understanding the difference. As a manager, you analyze, plan, make decisions and take action—all critical to running an operation or organization. As a leader, you must engage others daily in order to create an environment where people are consistently motivated to take initiative and to do what it takes to be successful.

The ability to engage employees through presence and skilled communication. Every day, employees look to their leaders to demonstrate confidence, composure, and courage, along with thoughtful and skilled communications. Your ability to communicate effectively is aligned with your ability to orchestrate success among your team(s).

The ability to listen. Asking questions of your employees, with a genuine intent to listen, understand, and assess what you hear will offer powerful data to help guide your priorities and coaching initiatives.

The ability to effectively manage change. Based on our current business environment relating to technology, competition, a multi-generational workforce, and complex customer demands, change is inevitable. People sometimes have a really tough time moving through change. A savvy leader understands the importance of creating a sense of urgency, communicating for understanding and buy-in, and leading others through the tough times while ensuring the sustainability of the change. This takes a high level of emotional intelligence and skill.

The ability to drive accountability. Setting standards for employee accountability—whether you’re leading executives or support staff—is sometimes as simple as clarifying expected deliverables, establishing target dates for completion, and promptly and consistently following up when targets are not met. And, as the leader, it’s crucial that you serve as a model and demonstrate your own accountability.

I could go to work this coming week and easily come up with another list of attributes and skills that are crucial every day on the job based on what I observe in the field. Yet, I’m confident these 5 will stay on the list.

What do you think is most important on a day-to-day basis to lead effectively?

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