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4 Essential Skills for Leaders, Managers & High Potentials

By Lisa Woods (1507 words)
Posted in Professional Development on June 2, 2013

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It does not matter if you are a company President, Operations Leader, Customer Service Representative, Sales & Marketing Director or “name your title”…the need for continuous self improvement is universal.  Successful individuals make a proactive effort to continuously develop four Essential Skills to create a combined ability to:


1. Lead

2. Manage

3. Perform In Their Job

4. Communicate Effectively


This 4-pronged skillset applies to your job, no matter what your title or level in the hierarchy.  If you strive to collectively improve in these four areas, you will improve the long-term aspects of your career, and the quality of your short-term results.


Why not focus on just one skill?  You could, and that would bring you value, but each skill is related to one another.  Together they will make you well rounded, able to solve problems and get things done.


The key is to address ALL FOUR Essential Skills; together they will make you a more effective professional.  Read through all aspects of the 4-pronged skillset and ask yourself…


Would I be happier and more fulfilled in my job if I had these abilities and generated these results?”  


4 Essential Skills for Leaders, Managers & High Potentials


Skill #1   Leadership Ability 

Why is Leadership Ability Crucial to Your Overall Professional Development? 

Leadership is a soft skill that allows you to move forward, at your desired speed, in your career and in your personal life.  It is essential in anyone’s development whether you want to lead a business, department, team or your own destiny.  It is about getting people to follow your lead & respect your input; this is vital no matter what you do.


Key Results:

  • Others are interested in what you have to say.

  • Others take action upon your request.

  • You have clarity as to why things happen and what value you bring to the big picture.


Skill #2   Management Ability

Why is Management Ability Crucial to Your Overall Professional Development? 

Whether you are currently a manger, or want to be one eventually, the ability to take on responsibly and coordinate multiple variables: people, processes, timelines, personalities, objectives, etc.… in order to get things done, is an essential aspect of your development. 


Key Results:

  • You develop a reputation for being reliable.

  • You are able to create mutually beneficial relationships with others.

  • You are able to get things done through effective collaboration.


Skill #3   Job Performance

Why is Job Performance Crucial to Your Overall Professional Development? 

Being proficient, innovative, respected and resourceful in your job are all tangible skills necessary for your professional development.  This, combined with your soft skills makes you a full package ready to advance in your career.


Key Results:

  • Your work and efforts are known and respected.

  • Your input is requested and valued by others.

  • Your work is relevant within your organization and within your field of expertise.


Skill #4   Communication Skills

Why are Communication Skills Crucial to Your Overall Professional Development? 

You can have great ideas, amazing abilities and productive relationships, but if you don’t have the skill to communicate effectively, get buy in and mobilize others, you are limiting how much you can actually accomplish.  Great Communication Skills give you an edge in everything you do as a manager, leader & individual contributor by understanding your audience and projecting your message in a way that others can understand, buy into and act upon.


Key Results:

  • You are comfortable in your own skin no matter what the circumstance.

  • You are able to work with others, no matter their personality, and feel accomplished.

  • You are able to learn, understand concepts and use new information to improve yourself.


Taking a well-rounded approach to your professional development is the best way to ensure success both in today’s job, and tomorrow’s career.  These skills will make work more enjoyable & fulfilling for yourself and those you encounter in your day-to-day life.


So how do you go about developing these abilities & generating these results? 


The ability to see yourself the way other people see you is an asset IF you have the willingness to use this insight as a tool for positive change.  Focusing on what you want is not enough, by understanding how you are perceived, you can create a practical & productive action plan that achieves results.


About six months ago I created a professional development self-assessment quiz to get you and your team thinking about, and understanding, how you are each perceived.  This is so important because in any career perception IS reality.  Judging yourself honestly, by the way you are perceived, not as you perceive yourself, is the most effective way to improve. This quiz has been used by thousands of individuals and teams since it launched.  Based on tremendous feedback, I’ve taken the assessment to the next level, addressing numerous requests to create a more extensive management tool to facilitate and support the process. 


I’ve addressed this next step, and then some, in my new book 4 Essential Skills for Leaders, Managers & High Potentials. It is designed as a tool to evaluate your current strengths, help you focus on areas that need improvement, identify actions needed to develop your skills, and learn from the progress you make as a result of your efforts by providing worksheets to document your actions & successes.


In addition to the initial self-assessment, the book includes the tools to interpret your scores, build your action plan & improve your results with:


  • 100+ Actions you can take to improve your skills.

  • A Workbook to track your success.

  • A Step-By-Step Guide to implement & manage the process.


Writing down your activity is the best way to maintain the focus you need to succeed; using progress reports as a reminder ensures successful actions become habits & sharing your own experiences as a management tool becomes a great way to develop skills in others.


I believe in this process and know it will work for you.  At the beginning of this article I asked you to consider if you would be happier and more fulfilled in your job if you had these skills and were able to achieve these results.  It would be a difficult argument to make against it.  Now I want you to image something else…


Would your team or organization benefit from achieving these results?  Do you think an accountable and collaborative team would positively impact your ability to grow profits and serve customers better?


When you get the people around you focused on self-improvement within a similar framework, it is easier and more comfortable for everyone to improve and support one another.  I encourage you to use this insightful, yet practical, management tool for performance reviews, teambuilding and individual development.  It works and can positively influence the culture of your entire organization.


Good luck!




Written by Lisa WoodsPresident & CEO ManagingAmericans.com

Lisa is a successful entrepreneur, world-class marketing strategist, dynamic business leader & author with more than 20 years experience leading, managing and driving growth in the corporate world. Today she provides Management Tools, Do-It-Yourself Training, and Business Assessments for small to mid size companies, Lisa utilizes her experience with integration techniques, organizational and cultural overhauls, financial turnarounds and strategic revitalization to help other companies succeed.  Closing the gap between strategy and hierarchy through the use of effective communication skills, Lisa's techniques successfully develop employees into exceptional leaders, results driven managers and passionate team contributors that collectively exceed objectives.


Do you have a question for Lisa?  Post it in our Executive Leadership Community, she will be happy to help: Ask an Expert


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Here are some additional training articles you may be interested in: 

Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace: How to Develop Yourself & Your Team 

Lessons Learned Templates & Guide: A Managers Toolkit for Continuous Improvement

Work Efficiency Equation For Managers And High Performers

Overcoming Disconnect Between Middle & Upper Management


At ManagingAmericans.com we encourage members to go in and out of our communities to learn about different areas of business; how to work together, solve problems and improve skills.  Each community details expectations, challenges, success tips, training programs and useful resources. Growing your knowledge base and learning about all areas of business can help you navigate towards success in your career.


Comments (3)

Susan S. posted on: June 3, 2013

I bought my copy. Thank you for putting this together Lisa. I have been using the self-assessment tool with my team for a month now and everybody loves it.
Keep up the good work!

Susan S. posted on: June 4, 2013

I bought my copy. Thank you for putting this together Lisa. I have been using the self-assessment tool with my team for a month now and everybody loves it.
Keep up the good work!

Lisa Woods posted on: July 25, 2013

Thank you Susan! I am happy to hear the book is working for you and your team. I have another book coming out in a few weeks on how to create a productive work culture.

Wishing you and your team a productive week,

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