The Effective Leader works at building up and maintaining a series of Leadership Competencies which they use to do their job. By ‘competencies’ we do not mean ‘natural’ attributes, personality styles or skills. Competency is something, either natural or learnt, which is practiced and used effectively to achieve their desired goals. For example, someone may be charismatic, but this is only a ‘competency’ if they are consciously aware of this attribute, and use it purposefully to influence others positively. Competency covers knowledge, skills, practices and processes of the Effective Leader.

The Essential Leadership Competencies
The following is the Top 7 groups of key working competencies. This is what the experienced, successful Leader is actually doing, the REAL competencies –

1. Influences Others. A Leader must have the ability to get others to act in the desired way. They have the ability to win respect from those who must be influenced, and to build mutual respect. They will give directions and expectations in an appropriate way to influence others to act, and they are also open to ideas and listen actively to others. They walk the talk, influencing others by modelling the behaviour, and they reinforce the appropriate attitude, behaviour and performance in others. They communicate to the group in a way that sways the group towards behaving in the desired way.

2. Fosters Accountability. A Leader establishes in their team members a commitment to achieving results by building a culture of accountability. Again, they model this with their behaviour, displaying accountability for themselves, their own areas of accountability and their team. They use fair processes and they organise action plans for sharing workload and effort. They have open Team Process for identifying stress points and for accessing help from other Team Members. They promote accountability and hold each Team Member personally responsible for their area. They react to deadline and targets with positive or corrective feedback.

3. Builds Positive Working Relationships. A Leader actively builds a network of positive working relationships, both internally with other department & colleagues, and externally with clients. They take responsibility for ensuring that a relationship is positive and effective, that it works well for both parties. A Leader actively seeks to demonstrate respect for self and respect for others. They investigate the goals, targets and stressors of other departments, and of clients, ensuring they work well with them to achieve common goals. They explore and use various styles, techniques and communication methods to achieve successful results and build good relationships.

4. Coaches for Improvement / Results. A Leader develops the potential of every Team Member and ensures that they are achieving the desired performance. They work with each to ensure each is contributing positively to the team dynamic. They read others – to appreciate their strengths, areas for development, personality style, learning style and motivators. They plan a development strategy for each, and hold effective, motivating coaching sessions.

5. Communicates Effectively. A Leader PLANS how they communicate, identifying the objectives, the method, the structure etc. They review the outcome of the communication and they learn from this. They use different forms of communication effectively, the right channel for the given task. They lead meetings effectively. They plan, structure and facilitate the meeting to achieve the desired outcome. They use their Leadership presence effectively in interactions, to listen, respond, influence and persuade.

6. Works Effectively. A successful Leader plans their own workload, prioritising key tasks and ensuring the appropriate allocation of time and effort to achieve the required results. They organise and structure, building good working processes, systems and habits so that they can effectively achieve their objectives, goals and targets. They translate objectives/project requirements into an achievable work plan, anticipating obstacles. They prioritise tasks, establishing a clear focus and direction for others to follow. They think ahead to anticipate changing business requirements which could affect priorities and plans. The Effective Leader continuously improves. They plan what improvements they will introduce, when and how these improvements will be implemented.

7. Builds a High Performing Team. The Leader ensures that their Team will achieve their Team Goals & targets, will achieve the desired performance and is well placed to achieve future INCREASED targets. They understand group dynamics and what influences this. They organises the Team and build good team processes. They communicate well to the Team, about the business, the Team Purpose, progress on goal achievement etc. They fives feedback, celebrate goal achievement and motivates to improve. They challenge and encourage the team to improve, find new ways of doing things and to develop the desired competencies and team values.

Author's Bio: 

Kate Tammemagi is a Leadership Skills Trainer and Consultant in Ireland. She has extensive experience in designing and delivering Leadership Skills Courses and Team Leader Courses .