Leadership: Identifying the Critical Skills

I’ve thought about leadership for what seems like a lifetime. It seems there was some element of leadership training in almost every organization I’ve joined or worked for, from 4-H to Baptist Student Union to Urban Design Group. 

Some of the highlights from those lessons are:

  • Leaders make hard decisions.
  • Leaders inspire others.
  • Leaders see the big picture.
  • Leaders are servants.
  • Leaders not only get the right people on the bus, but in the right seats (thanks, Jim Collins!)
We all know the basics. Now that I’m knee-deep (neck-deep?) into some serious leadership roles, I find myself wondering what the critical skills are to be an effective leader. Here’s where I find myself struggling:
  • Seeing people for who they are. I tend to see my team for what it can be, and get overly disappointed when they don’t live up to my expectations. 
  • Confronting team members about behaviors and actions that must change.
  • Paying attention to the details as well as the big picture.
  • Stoking the fire of inspiration with the reality of follow-through.
  • Finding the balance between a servant heart and empowerment of the team.
Any suggestions? There has to be a way to keep the essence of your personality and philosophy, while still being an effective leader. 

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