Tag Archives: Leadership development

4 Skills that really matter

“Once a musician has enough ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguishes one performer from another is how hard he or she works. That’s it. And what’s more, the people at the very top don’t work just harder or even much harder than everyone else. They work much, much harder.”
― Malcolm Gladwell

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In his book The Global Achievement Gap, Tony Wagner, co-director of the Change Leadership Group, Harvard School of Education,described seven key skills for getting a new job.  Among those seven areas are four skills that might be something that everyone whether a new job seeker or a veteran can bring to the table of employment.

In the new world of work, workers need to have in their tool box of experience and knowledge the following:

1. Agility and adaptability

2. Collaboration and leadership

3. Critical thinking and problem solving – to ask the right questions

4. Initiative and an entrepreneurial spirit

What does it mean to be adaptable and agile?    We know that the speed of change is creating more and more tension in the workforce and those who have difficulty modifying their work habits will be less and less satisfied in their work environment.   Being agile means moving quickly and not getting stuck in the past.

The collaborator, the team worker is going to be better equipped in a fast paced world.  Learning critical leadership skills, as in how to motivate from within, will be essential as more and more work is done globally.    Leading with the heart, from a perspective of empathy, understanding and humility will be part of the foundation of powerful leadership.

Having the ability to solve complex problems though rapid iteration and learning from failure (something most people are adverse to trying) is a critical asset to have.   Learning and achievement come from our ability to be resilient when we fail.  We learn more through failure than we do from success, if we take the lessons we learned and apply them in our new attempts.

Taking initiative and action are essential to increasing overall momentum.  Applying energy each and every day towards the generation of new outcomes is a valuable skill to have.  It is a skill that can be developed.  The entrepreneurial mindset is about creating new opportunities or grasping opportunity quickly and testing the value of that idea now.

We live in a world that “waiting” is no longer acceptable.  We live in the “instant” and holding back instead of acting will have a greater price than taking action and learning.   Learn quickly to grow exponentially.

Mastering today’s world will take adaptability, agility, collaboration,leadership, critical thinking, problem solving and taking initiative.    Start developing your skills in these areas and become the person that people want to hire.
Learn more about Tony Wagner’s desire to reshape our education system.

Leadership is self-development

A lot has been written about leadership, leadership development and being a leader and yet more and more books are written about leading.   Top leadership development experts like John Maxwell pump out books year after year exhorting would be leaders to “be” a leader.

The top leadership development experts continue to inspire and move people to develop their leadership skills?  Why?

What would happen if we had great leaders in every organization, every non-profit, every community activity, every neighborhood and in every household?   Things would change.

Here are a few things from a list of things people can do to become a better leader and they aren’t hard to do.  It just takes thinking about leadership consciously, practicing leadership consciously and living leadership consciously.

Here’s a good one, “don’t micromanage“.   How many people in leadership positions micromanage?   Some say they don’t and then out of habit give direction rather than helping others find direction.   Micromanagement is faster some say and micromanagement leads to an exact result.   Certainly working with someone to develop their skills and talents takes more work initially.   The end result though is someone who is more passionate about the work they do and it takes less time to “manage” someone if they can solve problems rather than asking for permission to own their work.

Micromanagement is often a result of a manager/leader who is not confident in themselves.  They don’t trust who they are and as a result they don’t trust others either.   A micromanager  has difficultly in letting go and letting others get going.   In most cases the result of someone that is being micromanaged will never be good enough.   The micromanager will insist on a level of perfection that is unobtainable thus setting up the employee for failure.   The micromanager will assert a “BLM” (Be like me) attitude that all their cohorts should exhibit.   Differences in opinion, style and thoughts are often discarded by the micromanager as it is only their agenda that matters.

Those who work for a micromanager may never fully be able to utilize all their strengths and talents.    The micromanager has to first realize they are not leading effectively and then to get help so that they can become a leader and develop the potential in others.

For the micromanager a good first step would be to absorb the advice of John Gailbraith  when he wrote,  “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”