8 Leadership SkillsTwo words that we hear often today, in politics and business, are Leadership and Sustainability.

Organizations as well as government need those who can successfully lead others and sustain success. When choosing a leader for public or private sector work we must look for certain criteria or core competencies. These competencies will serve as the foundation and metric to ensure leaders can create environments that are productive and sustainable.

There are eight core competencies every leader should posses: Communication, Leadership, Adaptability, Task Management, Relationships, Production, Development of Others and most importantly Personal Mastery. These competencies ensure that a leader is well rounded and fit to lead.


All leaders must be able to listen to others, process information, and communicate effectively.

Within the Communication core competency, listening to others enables leaders to encourage the sharing of information and ideas, as well as concerns. Listening openly to others, without interruption, is one of the keys to becoming more effective and optimizing performance.

Processing information is crucial to being a good leader. Being able to get to the point, weigh pros and the cons, and evaluate short and long range consequences of decisions is vital. It helps leaders develop logical and clear conclusions.

The final component of the Communication core competency is a leader must communicate effectively.  Leaders must express themselves clearly, both in writing and in speaking. They must be thorough, concise, and consistently straightforward when sharing information and their vision with others.

Leadership Skills Communication


Successful leaders instill trust, provide direction, and delegate responsibility.

Ultimately, leadership is about producing the desired results. Building and instilling trust enables a leader to show they can be trusted to keep promises and confidences. It also shows that they are honest and ethical.

Leaders provide direction by establishing clear expectations and developing a manageable workload to accomplish those expectations, while keeping focused on the overall vision.

Lastly under the Leadership core competency a leader must be able to delegate responsibility.  Leaders delegate the appropriate jobs to appropriate people. Leaders empower others to work and solve problems on their own.


Adaptability is the ability to adjust to circumstances and think creatively.

Adjusting to circumstances involves the ability to adjust to people’s diverse work styles and to varying environments. Competent leaders know how to deal with setbacks constructively and they anticipate change.

Finally under Adaptability is the ability for a leader to Think Creatively. Thinking Creatively brings an imaginative approach to the job. Creative Thinking leaders inspire innovation, risk-taking, and creative problem-solving.

Building Relationships

Building a personal relationship may be the most crucial component of being a leader.

It means being considerate of others’ feelings. Leaders must also show freedom from unfair biases as well as be tactful when giving criticism. Leaders must remain composed under stress.

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The next component to Building Relationships is ensuring team success. Team success is crucial in the workplace as “no man is an island.” Within team success leaders must resolve conflicts fairly, in a spirit of cooperation. Leaders must build consensus and lead teams with appropriate goals. Leaders must recruit effectively and use talents of group wisely.

Building Relationships

Task Management

Task Management involves working efficiently and competently.

Working efficiently means a leader makes efficient use of current technology and wise use of outside resources. The leaders avoid procrastination and sets priorities. Working competently means the leader has mastered the fundamentals of the job. This leader can, quickly and competently, apply new methods and new information as appropriate for new tasks.


Leaders take action and achieve results.

An effective leader knows when the time is right to initiate action. Leaders handle problems assertively and make timely as well as firm decisions. Leaders take action so they can achieve results. In order to achieve results, leaders must know how to overcome obstacles to achievement and set high standards that positively impact the organization.

Developing Others

Leaders develop leaders.

Two important areas in the development of others are cultivating individual talent and successfully motivating others.

Leaders who are successful at cultivating talent are effective at coaching and making training available. These leaders also provide objective performance feedback on a timely basis.  As a leader, one must be able to give recognition to people who produce excellent work and give extra effort. The leader also has an enthusiastic attitude that positively affects others.

Developing Leadership Skills

Personal Mastery

The leader who masters his or her self, seeks improvement and displays personal commitment.

This leader learns positive lessons from mistakes, accepts constructive criticism, and pursues resources to improve and develop professionally. He or she sets no limits on personal potential. A high level of commitment is needed by leaders to be successful. This leader maintains a high level of energy, perseveres, and remains positive.

These eight core competencies provide a systems approach to personal leadership development. Effective leaders are committed to developing these competencies in themselves on an ongoing basis.

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Dr. Terry Jackson
Terry is Managing Partner for WEpiphany. Developing People is Terry’s purpose and passion. Terry brings 25 years of experience working for organizations and is also a certified Executive and Business Coach, and Sales Trainer.