Today, I’d like to continue discussing Pat Williams’ book, Leadership Excellence: the Seven Sides of Leadership for the 21st Century, covering the fifth side of leadership:
Competence. “A leader of competence displays the attitudes, skills, abilities, and behaviors needed to function at a very high level and to take the organization to increasingly higher levels of success. Competence is not a static condition. It’s a state of one’s continual dynamic growth, both as a person and a leader.” – Pat Williams
The book outlines fifteen leadership competencies:
- The competency of problem solving – “If you want to be a leader, then you need to show that you are a problem solver. Problems just come with the job.”
- The competency of selling – Leadership is selling. And the first thing you must sell is yourself.
- The competency of continuous learning – John F. Kenney reminded us, “Learning and leadership are indispensable to each other. If we stop learning today, we will stop leading tomorrow.” Invest time in reading an hour a day about great lives, great events and great ideas.
- The competency of teaching – Our job is to take the complex and make it simple… if they don’t ‘get it,’ it’s because we failed to teach them properly.
- The competency of team-building – “Industrialist entrepreneur Andrew Carnegie said, ‘Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision – the ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.’”
- The competency of organizing and planning – “A leader of excellence starts with a vision and creates a plan to achieve that vision.” That plan is the roadmap for teams to follow, while also pinpointing potential obstacles and strategizing around them.
- The competency of managing change – “A leader proves his or her mettle not in calm, stable circumstances, but in times of uncertainty and rapid change when the ground is shifting underfoot.”
- The competency of balance – Balance is “keeping all things in perspective, maintaining self-control, and avoiding excessive highs or lows that occur because of luck or misfortune.”
- The competency of charisma – “Charismatic leaders are personable and outgoing, carry themselves with an air of confidence, and are positive and optimistic in the face of adversity.”
- The competency of poise – “Poise is the ability to remain cool, calm and collected in emotional or stressful situations. A poised leader keeps such emotions as anger, frustration, impatience, and panic under control.”
- The competency of historical awareness – “History is filled with patterns that have a way of repeating themselves. The better we understand the cycles of past history, the more quickly we recognize the events that come our way.”
- The competency of authority – “Followers grant authority to leaders by agreeing to follow – and they can withdraw that authority by simply refusing to follow.”
- The competency of good judgment – “…the capacity for making wise, moral, effective decisions.”
- The competency of authenticity – “What does it mean to be authentic? Very simply, it means be yourself.” You are who you are. Embrace it.
- The competency of patience – “Pay your dues. Learn the ropes. You can’t come into a new situation and jump right to the top.”
I know there’s a lot to digest here, but these fifteen points certainly underscore the importance of being a competent leader. As it relates to our profession, I’d have to add a 16th competency – the competency of technical skills, which we as a firm strive to help you through our CPE programs, training programs, and technology and software tools. Those who are really great at what they do not only enjoy their careers the most, but also gain the respect of their clients and colleagues as experts, as well. Continuing to grow in your competencies both personally and professionally will inevitably bring you to your pinnacle of leadership.