27 Leadership and Management Skills; Which Will You Develop?
No matter what the job market is doing, and regardless of your current role or position, you always want to be working on and improving your leadership and management skills. Whether you’re a full-time employee, a freelancer, or a business owner, ignoring skill development leads to stagnation, if not career derailment.
The best way to identify areas for improvement is to listen to your clients’ needs. You can also assess yourself using a list of key skills and rating how often you demonstrate them. This approach helps you prioritize improvements and provide a personal and professional development roadmap.
To get you started, here is a list of 27 skills related to leadership and management. After reading through the descriptions, rate your performance. This exercise helps you identify areas where you excel and where you need more focus.
Improving your skills isn’t just important for your current role — it’s also essential for growth. As always, deciding which skills to prioritize and develop is up to you. Take ownership of your personal and professional growth and commit to a plan of action.
Which Leadership and Management Skills Need Your Focus?
To stay relevant in our changing world, you must find ways to manage better and lead well, but where do you start? Review the following 27 disciplines; read through the bullet points under each to get a flavor of each skill set. Then rate yourself (or your organization) on how often you demonstrate each category.
(1 = Rarely, 2 = Seldom, 3 = Frequently, 4 = Consistently)
1. Business / Financial Perspective ______
- Understand from a general management perspective the broad-based requirements of running a business;
- Develop strategies and plans using key financial indicators to manage and guide business processes effectively;
- Understand and integrate multiple, sometimes conflicting, processes and functions into a coherent business operation.
2. Business Results ______
- Drive for business results as measured short-term by revenue growth and profitability and long-term by customer retention and market share;
- Recognize the essential importance of customer satisfaction in achieving business results;
- Develop business strategies with a strong focus on financial outcomes for the organization.
3. Communication ______
- Present or express information concisely, in an organized way, both orally and in writing.
4. Control and Follow Up ______
- Systematically review the progress and status of commitments by self and others to ensure completion of tasks;
- Effectively use an information system.
5. Cross-Functional Teamwork ______
- Know how to negotiate and maintain working relationships across functions and groups;
- Recognize the importance of cross-divisional teamwork for overall organizational effectiveness;
- Recognize diverse stakeholder needs and gain cooperation and support based on shared organizational goals;
- Negotiate work processes across organizational boundaries that effectively balance divisional and company-wide requirements.
6. Customer Focus ______
- Keep the organization focused on understanding and responding to the needs of customers;
- See customer satisfaction as the priority throughout the organization and the ultimate benchmark guiding decision-making;
- Maintain urgency to customers’ requirements through personal involvement and a continuous drive for customer feedback.
7. Decisiveness ______
- Make decisions; take the initiative; give opinions, and willingly defend own decisions, actions and opinions when challenged by others;
- Take risks to achieve results.
8. Delegation and Empowerment ______
- Push decision-making to the lowest appropriate level and develop direct report’s confidence in their ability to lead, manage, and impact business outcomes;
- Instill a sense of ownership of the business in others;
- Allocate sufficient authority and resources to direct reports to make decisions and act autonomously within their area of responsibility.
9. Empathy and Influence ______
- Recognize the impact of one’s behavior on others;
- Be sensitive to the moods of others;
- Encourage effective behavior in others through active listening, feedback, and persuasion;
- Show a genuine interest in others and their well-being.
10. Energy Level ______
- Demonstrate a high level of initiative, drive, persistence, and involvement on the job that is self-motivated and self-directed.
11. Environmental and Industry Perspective ______
- Be aware of developments in the larger business, the political and social arena which will affect the organization in a significant manner;
- Be knowledgeable about trends in the industry both domestically and globally;
- Demonstrate awareness and deep insight concerning customer requirements, emerging roles and opportunities, competitive offerings in the marketplace, and relative standing in the industry.
12. Flexibility ______
- Maintain constructive behavior in stressful situations;
- Remain calm and unflustered when pressured by time, people, or situations;
- Change the course of action appropriately when dictated by new evidence in a situation.
13. Innovation ______
- Produce significant performance results through the creation and management of major new initiatives and agendas;
- Value and encourage innovation and its realization in new products and services;
- Set high standards and monitor key tasks and work processes to accomplish objectives.
14. Interpersonal ______
- Display sensitivity to the needs, feelings, and capabilities of others;
- Develop and maintain rapport with others;
- Effectively interact with others regardless of differences in status, opinion, and temperament.
15. Judgement ______
- Make sound and logical conclusions based on analysis of information;
- Interpret implications of alternative courses of action;
- Select appropriate strategies and resources needed to accomplish specific tasks and solve problems.
16. Leadership ______
- Direct and coordinate the activities of others;
- Delegate authority and responsibility to others and hold them accountable;
- Set an example for others;
- Provide feedback to others on their performance.
17. Managing Teamwork ______
- Recognize the importance of teams in realizing business objectives;
- Understand the appropriate circumstances for the use of teams in contrast to individual work;
- Be able to use teams to increase productivity, quality, employee involvement, and customer satisfaction;
- Demonstrate the ability to build and mold teams, foster openness, and two-way communication, and increase overall team effectiveness.
18. Openness to Change ______
- Be open to new ideas and willing to experiment;
- Have a tolerance for change, ambiguity, and paradox;
- Demonstrate a willingness to learn and proactively seek feedback;
- Actively solicit information and views from others and use this input to make appropriate change occur;
- Be willing to modify existing strategies and processes to improve effectiveness.
19. Organizing & Planning ______
- Establish priorities;
- Manage personal and staff time;
- Plan a course of action to achieve specific outcomes;
- Organize and readily retrieve necessary information.
20. Perception & Analysis ______
- Interpret and comprehend data;
- Identify critical elements in a situation;
- Determine the factors essential to a problem’s solution;
- Perceive relationships between people and between different kinds of information.
21. Personal Consistency ______
- Evoke trust in others by being appropriately open and by behaving in predictable ways;
- Be consistent in behavior toward others in the organization as well as maintain consistency between words and actions;
- Be clear and consistent in values and act accordingly.
22. Personal Drive ______
- Demonstrate a deep-seated need for achievement and excellence;
- Be driven by internal standards and consistently meet or exceed expectations;
- Thrive on challenges and persevere despite obstacles;
- Balance needs for power with a strong need for personal mastery and accomplishment.
23. Personal Strength and Maturity ______
- Demonstrate resilience in response to short-term and sustained stress;
- Tolerate adversity with a realistic but optimistic outlook for the future;
- Accept the personal consequences of difficult decisions;
- Be self-confident, have a sense of perspective and learn from mistakes.
24. Quick Study ______
- Understand complex business processes and technologies quickly;
- Reduce complex situations to their essentials without becoming simplistic;
- Harness analytical abilities to deeply understand problems and recognize significance and implications for the business.
25. Strategic Implementation ______
- Translate broad strategic intent into concrete strategic plans and directions;
- Define operating objectives and make specific relevant resource allocation decisions;
- Create appropriate processes for; strategy formulation, implementation, and assessment, including designing and staffing the organization based on strategic requirements.
26. Strategic Thinking ______
- Think strategically about major trends affecting the business;
- Seek and accurately interpret competitive benchmarking data about organizational strengths and weaknesses in the context of customers, markets, and competitors;
- Develop viable strategic alternatives or scenarios consistent with overall strategic intent;
- Identify opportunities for strategic leverage.
27. Vision ______
- Create and communicate a clear and inspiring vision for change and customer focus based on the organization’s overall business strategy;
- Engage and mobilize the organization’s commitment to direct and open communication;
- Develop and maintain a long-term big picture view while providing a framework to guide short-term action steps.
Review your scores for each discipline and list the top five skills you rated as a 4 (Consistently demonstrated.) These areas are your strengths, and you should continue to refine them. Note, keep the list to no more than five. If you didn’t rate any skills as a 4, use 3s (Frequently demonstrated.)
Next, review your scores and list your bottom five skills. You rated them as 1 (Seldom) or 2 (Rarely demonstrated.) These are your blind spots or weaknesses. Work on improving these skills so they no longer interfere with your career progression. Keep this list to five or fewer. Note, if you don’t have any 1s or 2s, lower your response to question 15 and question 20.
With this cluster of up to 10 leadership and management disciplines, you can draft a preliminary development plan for yourself or your organization. Pick 3–4 to focus on initially. Note the resources you’ll need and the subsequent physical action you’ll take to move forward. When creating goals for each area, consider how much and by when.
Your ongoing leadership development keeps you relevant and valuable as we navigate the social, technological, environmental, and political changes surrounding us.
This assessment and others like it are available to Karl Bimshas Consulting’s Lyderis Leadership Library members. If you would like access for yourself, or members of your organization, reach out to Karl Bimshas Consulting.