Anyone looking to achieve higher levels of as a leader, in business, volunteering, or even just at home, would be well served by strengthening their abilities in each of these skill sets.
1. Critical Thinking
Successful leaders all have powerful critical thinking skills. The ability to quickly survey and analyze a situation then identify the core issues that need to be dealt with is key to business success. As is, the ability to understand new issues and factors that impact one's goals and designs.
2. Creative Thinking
These leaders also have varying abilities to think, well, differently. They have the ability to step out of rigid mindsets so that they can explore potential new ideas that others may consider risky, crazy, or silly.
Great leaders are great listeners. Experienced at focusing their energy to the task, this includes listening, so that when they listen, they are very focused on hearing everything that's being said so that they can make well-informed decisions.
The ability to read is vital to lifelong personal and professional success. Leaders in any industry or area all tend to be good readers who are exposed to large amounts of information through reports, newspapers, white papers, books, etc. While they may not be speed readers, they are excellent at grasping the main ideas and context of the material they do read.
They may not write often. And they may not write a lot. But when they do, successful leaders are clear, concise, and to the point.
Perhaps the most important language skill, the best leaders are also good speakers. They are able to present their ideas verbally to audiences of all types and sizes, as well as easily change their presentation style so that they meet an audience's needs. While it may not be a skill that a leader is ever completely comfortable with, she understands that if she can't speak about the issues her business faces, nobody can.
Skilled leaders are superb motivators. They understand that each of us is propelled by our own, personal, motivations. These leaders are able to apply all of their language skills (listening, reading, writing, and speaking) to create powerful group goals and visions that spur people to give 110%.
Successful people have successful networks. They have contacts, associates, and friends in a wide array of fields who they can call on for ideas, input, and assistance. These leaders actively cultivate and grow their networks all the time.
To some, this may not seem like a leadership skill, but it is. Leaders who excel are leaders who don't try to take everything on themselves. Indeed, they understand that they can't do everything. They easily delegate all but the most important of tasks to their employees, assistants, and networks. They create systems so that they are available to focus on the most important issues at any moment.
In evaluating successful leaders, I think this is the most powerful, yet most difficult skill to master. Evolving is the ability to adapt, quickly, to the newest technologies, styles, and modes of thinking that create success. It is a skill requiring a supreme sense of self-confidence coupled with extreme humility. For leaders, it is a skill applied not just for personal success, but also for the success of their business, their workers, and their families. It provides those who can master it, the opportunity to achieve life-long success in all areas of life.
Which of these skills do you already excel at and which do you need to work on? Evaluate yourself and hone your abilities in order to be a truly great leader.