Think you’ve got the skills required to make a great leader? We’ve got an actual checklist.
Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, executives at Zenger/Folkman, a leadership development consultancy, conducted a survey of 332,860 “bosses, peers, and subordinates” (that is a lot of people), asking “what skills have the greatest impact on a leader’s success in the position the respondents currently hold.”
The aim was to learn whether some skills are more or less important for leaders at different rungs on the corporate ladder, or whether there is a set of skills fundamental to every level.
The explanation in the Harvard Business Review is a tad convoluted:
- “The same competencies were selected as most important for the supervisors, middle managers, and senior managers alike, and six out of the seven topped the list for top executives. Executives at every organizational level, our respondents reported, need a balance of these competencies…”
They go on to write that, as people move up, the required fundamental skills will not dramatically change. However, when one reaches middle management, problem solving moves to the forefront. And once senior management is reached, “communicating powerfully and prolifically” takes the No. 2 spot. For top executives, the ability to display a “strategic perspective” moves into the No. 5 position.”
The list below (from the HBR) is of the competencies voted most important for all management positions, in order of importance for the “supervisory group.”
Long story short: to be a great leader you must possess the skills to inspire and motivate others, display high levels of honesty and integrity, and have great problem solving and communication skills.
See how many of the skills you possess on the graphic.