What if there was a better way?
What would you do?
What could you do?
What should you do?

These are the questions most asked of me before the Leadership seminars I hold around the country. In the last year I was fortunate to serve just over 25,000 people from these encounters. What I found in pre-assessments of participants was the same questions came up time and time again, regardless of what part of the country I was in, the age or occupation of the participant, or the industry I was working with.

Why were these questions being asked? Many of the participants had read the mountain of “Leadership” books available. They said that these books were full of “Advice in Principal”, or in other words recommendations on what the author had seen work successfully in the past from the author’s perspective. What was lacking was implementable action items. Leadership books often consist of a whole lot of theory and storytelling, but very little “low hanging fruit” which can be grasped and implemented in the real world. They should provide not only information about the destination skills that are needed, but a road-map that details how you can develop, sharpen and get to those skills! Based on scientific research, believe it or not Leadership success or failure all boils down to possessing “10 Critical Skills”.

Here then, are the “10 Critical Skills” identified for being an “Influential Leader”…

1. Storyteller – Everyone has a story to tell, and there is a difference in attention paid to those that can truly tell a great story versus those that can’t. Each of us has a story to tell whether we communicate verbally or never even open our mouths! What’s the story you are telling right now? Is it accurate? Will it allow you to accomplish your hopes and dreams?

2. Communicator – Social Psychologists have told us for years that speaking in public is the most common held fear of all. Fear of dying comes in third place! But being a good communicator is more than just your ability to speak in public, or private for that matter. Do you speak to speak, or
do the people you communicate with really hear you and take action? There is a difference.

3. Salesperson – We hate salespeople as a society, yet each of us is one! In every one of our actions we are either selling those we come in contact with on “Yes”, or they are selling us on “No”. There is a reason why this is the second oldest profession on the planet, and your ability to perform in it
will determine whether you place a check mark in the “Influencer” or “Influenced” scorecard column!

4. Team Builder – They say that no person in and of themselves is an island. Why then did a client recently declare team building to be dead in his organization? Team building efforts often fall short on what’s in it for the individual. There is a disconnect between the strategic goals of the organization as well as the individual.

5. Coach – Mentoring, modeling and role playing are crucial for “game time” success. Who doesn’t like having someone pick you up when you fall…You never fall?

6. Tecky – Technology comes at us fast and furious, and the one thing that can be guaranteed is that it will continue to come at us faster and more furious! The “Influential Leader” grabs hold of the technology that will propel them forward.

7. Strategic Planner – “A goal without a plan is just a dream” is a common refrain for goal setting. That’s great! This is the planning phase, and the better you are at developing multiple/detailed plans, the better off you will be when it comes down to choosing your action path.

8. Customer Retainer – Customer Satisfaction is worthless. If your focus is on the one-time incident or encounter you will lose business. Why? True Influential Leaders realize that getting customers to come to them not only the first time, but time and time again is the only customer satisfaction variable that matters! That’s called retention, and it is valuable! If your focus isn’t on the “Big Picture”, take a step back!

9. Change Agent – Change is inevitable…It marks progress sometimes, and regression others. Influential Leaders grasp the challenge of change by the horns! They know the risks as well as the potential rewards to be had.

10. Trust – Trust is the one key leadership competency that changes everything. With it, you’ll succeed. Without it…

So are you an “Influential Leader”? Where would you rank yourself along the “10 Critical Skills”? How about the people in your organization? Finally, now that these “10 Critical Skills” have been identified, ask yourself “What would you do? What could you do? What should you do?”

Author's Bio: 

Sam Palazzolo is the President & Chief Influence Officer at Pathos Leadership Group LLC (www.pathosleadershipgroup.com), where they work with individuals and organizations on the “Science of Influence” so that their World’s become more efficient and they have the opportunity to make more money!