Identifying leadership skills: The key to organisational success

A guide to identifying and defining the leadership skills that make organisations successful.

Leadership skills

Effective leadership is crucial to the success of any organisation, big or small. But what exactly are the leadership skills that organisations need to be successful? The answer to this question may vary depending on the industry, the company culture, and the organisation’s specific objectives and goals. However, one thing is certain: organisations that take the time to identify and define the leadership skills they desire are more likely to achieve their goals and thrive in today's competitive business environment.

In this playbook, we will explore the importance of leadership skills and how organisations can benefit from identifying and defining the skills they desire. Additionally, we will provide a step-by-step guide to help organisations identify these skills. Furthermore, you will find a comprehensive list of leadership skills MuchSkills, as a skills management platform , has created for you. Finally, at the end of the playbook, we have included links to some resources that you might find interesting.

A 7-step guide to successfully upskill your employees

What are leadership skills?

Leadership skills are the skills and competencies that enable an individual to effectively guide, influence, and motivate a group of people towards a common goal or vision.

Developing effective leadership skills is a process that requires continuous effort and commitment. Some leadership skills, such as communication and problem-solving, can be developed relatively quickly with practice, self-reflection and feedback, while others, such as strategic thinking and emotional intelligence, may take longer to develop. The ease with which such skills can be cultivated depends on a number of factors, including the individual’s natural talents, willingness to learn, and the level of support and resources available within the organisation.

How do organisations benefit if they identify and define the leadership skills they desire?

Did you know that managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units, according to Gallup? This means that managers have a significant impact on employee engagement within their teams and, ultimately, on performance, productivity, and the overall success of the business. Therefore, it is crucial for organisations to invest in developing strong leadership skills and creating a positive work environment within the workplace to foster employee engagement and productivity.

These are some of the main benefits of why organisations should identify and define the qualities of a good leader.

  • It boosts productivity and innovation: By proactively identifying the leadership competencies that are most critical for success and assisting leaders and potential leaders to cultivate these skills by providing them with the necessary leadership development and training, organisations set up their leaders for success. This leads to improved performance, including higher productivity, better decision-making, and more innovation. In the long run, it also contributes to building a positive organisational culture, which helps raise employee morale, and improves engagement, job satisfaction and overall organisational performance.
  • Helps develop effective leadership programmes: Understanding the specific leadership skills necessary for success can help organisations design customised and meaningful training and support for current and potential leaders. By equipping leaders with the knowledge and tools needed to effectively lead their teams and make informed decisions, organisations can achieve their objectives more efficiently and effectively. With the right leadership training and development in place, organisations can maximise the potential of their teams and foster a culture of continuous improvement and growth.
  • Helps create a leadership pipeline: Defining and identifying leadership skills within an organisation makes these skills ‘visible’ and ‘desirable’. This helps employees understand what skills they need to develop to grow, and motivates them to actively work towards acquiring them. In the long run, this enables organisations to create a pipeline of capable leaders who are well-equipped to lead the organisation towards success. For instance, take ‘Cultivating Inclusivity’: If an organisation does not identify it as a desirable leadership skill, its leaders and employees may stop to actively think about it and cease to question themselves and others if they are truly inclusive.
5 steps to identify the leadership skills that will make your organisation successful

5 steps to identify the leadership skills that will make your organisation successful

The one thing about leadership skills is that many of the key skills essential to effective management are universal across all industries. These include communication, problem-solving, decision-making, strategic thinking, and team-building. Having said that, it is important to note that certain industry-specific skills and competencies may also be necessary for success, and taking the time to identify and develop these skills can also bring you the benefits mentioned above.Here are five steps to identifying the leadership skills that will help make your organisation successful.

Step 1:

Ask yourself: What is the organisational culture we want?

Think about the kind of organisational culture you have, or the one you aspire to build.

An organisation's culture reflects its values, beliefs, attitudes, and practices. It shapes how people within the organisation interact with each other, make decisions, and approach their work.

Leadership skills are closely linked to an organisation's culture because the behaviors and values exhibited by leaders often set the tone for the rest of the workplace. Leaders who possess certain skills such as effective communication, collaboration, and problem-solving, can help promote a positive and supportive culture where employees feel valued, engaged, and motivated. On the other hand, leaders who lack these skills can contribute to a negative culture where employees feel disengaged, undervalued, and unmotivated. This can lead to lower productivity, higher turnover, and a general decline in organisational performance.

So, think of all the leadership skills you may need to build the culture you want in the organisation, Given the sheer number of skills involved, it might be useful to categorise the skills as those related to:

  • The individual
  • Others
  • Organisational culture.

Example: Building a problem-solving culture

Here’s an example.

Let’s assume that as an organisation, you want to build a culture of problem-solving. Think about the leadership skills that encourage problem-solving. These could be the following skills arranged in the categories mentioned above:

Skills related to the individual:

  • Critical thinking: To analyse problems, identify root causes, and develop effective solutions.
  • Creativity: To inspire innovative thinking and generate fresh ideas to solve problems.
  • Decision-making: To make informed decisions, take calculated risks, and implement effective solutions.

Skills related to interactions with others:

  • Collaboration: To facilitate teamwork, cooperation, and communication among team members to tackle complex problems.
  • Active listening: A communication skill that involves fully concentrating on and understanding what the speaker is saying, and demonstrating this understanding through verbal and nonverbal cues.
  • Empathy: To create a safe and supportive environment where your team feels comfortable raising problems and collaborating on solutions.

Skills related to organisational culture:

  • Accountability: To ensure that everyone takes responsibility for their actions and works towards achieving solutions.

At the end of Step 1, you should know the kind of culture you want to build and the leadership skills you want to focus on cultivating. Let’s say these skills form List A.

Step 2:

List the different leadership positions in the organisation

Remember that the term ‘leader’ doesn’t only refer to the executive leadership. Remember, in this context, a ‘leader’ is anyone who “effectively guides, influences, and motivates a group of people towards a common goal or vision”. This includes managers, supervisors and team leaders. Also remember to include ‘unofficial leaders’ in your list. These are individuals who may not be in formal leadership positions but who exert a significant amount of influence and power over others because they have gained the respect and trust of their colleagues through their knowledge, experience, or interpersonal skills, and are sought out by others for guidance, advice, or support.

Step 3:

Identify the leadership skills people in those positions will need to be successful leaders and define them

For each leadership position you have identified, identify 10-20 skills that will enable people in these positions to engage and motivate employees to achieve organisational goals. Given the range of skills involved, here too it might be useful to categorise leadership skills as those related to:

  • The individual
  • Others
  • Organisational culture.

Do remember to define these skills too. Defining skills helps to ensure that everyone within the organisation uses the same terminology when discussing skills and understands its meaning in the same way. This reduces confusion and increases clarity.

At the end of Step 3, you should have another list. Let’s call this ‘List B’.

Step 4:

Merge lists and prioritise the top 20 leadership skills

Merge lists A and B into one list to make a final list. This final list represents the culmination of your efforts to identify and prioritise the critical leadership skills necessary for your organisation's success. It provides a comprehensive understanding of the skills that leaders at all levels of the company must possess, reflecting the specific needs of each leadership position within the company as well as the organisation’s culture overall.

Although the final list provides a comprehensive understanding of the important leadership skills, focusing on developing all the skills listed can get overwhelming. (To get an idea of how exhaustive such a list can be, take a look at the list of important leadership skills MuchSkills has developed later in this playbook.) This is why it is advisable to prioritise the top 20 most critical leadership skills required to be successful – a process that requires a thorough understanding of the organisation’s goals, challenges, and strategic direction.

Use MuchSkills skills prioritisation framework

At MuchSkills, we have developed a skills prioritisation framework that you can use to identify the top 20 leadership skills. The framework involves reviewing your final list of leadership skills and selecting 20 that fall into the following two categories: 

  • Must-have: These are the most critical leadership skills required to achieve both the desired organisational culture and business success. These are non-negotiable skills that are essential for great leadership.
  • Should-have: These leadership skills are important, but not necessarily vital. If a leader lacks these skills, it is not a deal-breaker, but it is recommended that they acquire them as soon as possible. Leaders with strong “must-have” leadership skills should develop the missing “should-have” leadership skills to enhance their overall skills profile.

This prioritisation process helps organisations focus on the most crucial skills, enabling them to create targeted leadership training and development programs that enhance the competencies of their leaders. It is essential to regularly assess and update the prioritised list to ensure that the leadership team remains equipped to navigate the ever-changing business landscape and meet the organisation's goals.

Step 5:

Create a leadership development program

With the final list of critical leadership skills in hand, the next step is to create a comprehensive development and training program to ensure that current and potential leaders possess the necessary competencies to drive the organisation's success. The program should be designed to provide leaders with opportunities to develop and enhance their skills and tailored to the specific needs of each leadership position within the organisation. It should also be an ongoing process, with regular assessments and updates to ensure that it remains relevant and effective.

Do remember that a well-designed training and development program can help organisations develop and retain their best talent, enhancing their ability to navigate the ever-changing business landscape and achieve their strategic objectives.

Set a plan to develop your skills

A list of the most important leadership skills

Our goal in creating the research-based list of critical leadership skills given below is to guide organisations on their journey towards developing a deeper understanding of what it takes to be an effective leader. The sources of this list are from studies, surveys, and research published online. While not exhaustive, it serves as a starting point for organisations as they work on identifying the leadership skills that are important for their specific needs. As they continue to grow and evolve, they may discover additional leadership qualities that are critical for their success. Whether you are a seasoned executive or a first-time manager, we believe that this list will be a valuable guide.

As recommended earlier, we have categorised the skills into three distinct categories: skills concerning the individual, skills concerning others, and skills concerning organisational culture.

Skills concerning the individual

Skills concerning the individual

Adaptability: Adaptability is the ability to adjust to new situations and changing circumstances. It involves being flexible, resilient, and able to cope with uncertainty and ambiguity.

Challenging conventions: The ability to question established norms and ways of doing things. It involves thinking outside the box and being willing to challenge the status quo in order to find new and better ways of achieving goals or solving problems. This skill requires a willingness to take risks and a creative approach to problem-solving.

Creativity and innovation: While creativity is the ability to generate original and valuable ideas, using imagination and divergent thinking to solve problems and bring about new solutions, innovation is the process of transforming creative ideas into practical solutions that bring value to customers or society. It involves the implementation of novel concepts, products, or services that improve existing processes or create new opportunities.

Data analysis: The process of systematically examining and interpreting data to derive insights, identify patterns and make informed decisions. It involves collecting, cleaning, transforming, and modeling data to uncover valuable information that can be used to solve problems and drive business growth. In the context of product development, for instance, this may include analysing user feedback, market trends, and other relevant data sources to identify areas for improvement, prioritise features, and guide overall product development strategy. Effective data analysis is crucial for creating a product that meets the needs of the target audience and is competitive in the market.

Decision making: The ability to make effective decisions that have an impact on the organisation and its stakeholders. It includes the ability to gather and analyse information, consider different options, and make informed decisions. Additionally, effective decision-making also involves communicating decisions to others and gaining their support. Decision-making can also fall under the category of ‘skills concerning others’.

Emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to recognise, understand, and manage one's own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. It involves being aware of and regulating one's own emotions in order to make thoughtful decisions and build strong relationships, while also being able to perceive and empathise with the emotions of others. Emotional intelligence includes a range of skills such as self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skills.

Entrepreneurial spirit: A mindset that is willing to take on risks and create new opportunities for themselves and others. It involves a willingness to innovate, experiment, and pursue new ideas or ventures in order to achieve success. People with entrepreneurial spirit often exhibit traits such as creativity, curiosity, resilience, and a strong work ethic.

Growth Mindset (aka active learning): Growth mindset refers to the belief that intelligence and abilities can be developed and improved through dedication and hard work. Individuals with a growth mindset tend to view challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than as roadblocks to their success. They embrace failures and setbacks as chances to learn and develop new strategies. This mindset can lead to a more resilient and persistent approach to tasks, as well as a willingness to take on new challenges and explore new opportunities.

Improvisation: Improvisation refers to the ability to think on your feet and respond effectively to unexpected situations or challenges. It involves being creative, resourceful, and flexible in the moment.

Innovation management: The process of managing an organisation's innovation efforts, including generating, developing, and implementing new ideas, products, or services. It involves creating an environment and culture that fosters innovation, developing strategies for identifying and evaluating new opportunities, allocating resources to innovative projects, and managing the innovation process from idea generation to commercialisation.

Mental fitness: Mental fitness refers to the ability to effectively manage and regulate one's own emotions and thoughts, particularly during times of stress or adversity. It includes skills such as stress tolerance, resilience, and mindfulness, which can help individuals maintain their well-being and productivity even in challenging situations.

Open-mindedness: Open-mindedness is the willingness to consider different perspectives and ideas, even if they are different from your own. It involves being receptive to new information and being willing to change your opinions or beliefs based on evidence.

Product vision: A clear, inspiring, and long-term picture of what a product should be or achieve. It includes understanding the product's target audience, its unique selling proposition, competitive landscape, and how it fits into the larger company strategy. Having a strong product vision enables a leader to guide their team towards a common goal and make informed decisions that support the product's success.

Prototyping: The process of creating a preliminary or early version of a product or system to test its viability, usability, and effectiveness. Prototyping can help to identify potential problems and opportunities for improvement early on in the development process, leading to more efficient and effective final products. It can take various forms, from simple sketches or wireframes to more advanced interactive models.

Risk management: The process of identifying, assessing, and prioritising risks in order to minimise, monitor, and control the probability and/or impact of negative events or to maximise the realisation of opportunities. It involves analysing potential risks, developing strategies to address those risks, and implementing those strategies to mitigate or avoid negative consequences. In the context of product development, risk management can include analysing technological risks, market risks, and other factors that could affect the success of the product. The goal is to minimise the negative impact of risks on the project's timeline, budget, and quality, while maximising the opportunities for success.

Self-awareness and reflection: The ability to reflect on one's thoughts, feelings, and actions in order to gain insight into one's own personality, behavior, and motives. Self-awareness enables individuals to understand their own strengths and weaknesses, and to recognise how their behavior affects others. It is an important component of emotional intelligence, and is often considered a foundational skill for personal growth and effective leadership.

Technical expertise: The knowledge, skills, and abilities that an individual possesses related to a particular technical subject or field. In the context of a tech organisation, technical expertise refers to a deep understanding of the technical aspects of the product or service being developed, including its architecture, coding, and infrastructure, as well as the broader technology landscape and trends within the industry.

Time management: Time management refers to the ability to plan and organise time effectively, prioritise tasks, and manage deadlines. It involves setting goals, creating schedules, and being able to adapt to unexpected changes in order to maximise productivity and achieve desired outcomes.

Understanding the big picture: The ability to see the broader context or implications of a situation or project, and to comprehend how the different components fit together to achieve the overall goals. It involves a strategic approach to problem-solving, decision-making and resource allocation, considering the long-term implications and impact.

Visionary thinking: The ability to develop and communicate a clear and compelling vision for the future of the organisation. It involves the ability to think creatively and strategically about the organisation's direction and to inspire others to work towards achieving that vision. Therefore, visionary thinking would fall under the category of skills concerning the individual.

Identify growth opportunities

Skills concerning others

Active listening: A communication skill that involves fully concentrating on and understanding what the speaker is saying, and demonstrating this understanding through verbal and nonverbal cues. It requires avoiding distractions, asking questions for clarification, and summarising or paraphrasing the speaker's message to ensure comprehension. Active listening promotes effective communication, builds trust and rapport, and improves relationships.

Agile methodology: Agile methodology is an approach to project management that emphasises flexibility, collaboration, and rapid iteration to deliver high-quality products or services. It entails adopting a mindset that values adaptive planning, constant learning, and continuous improvement. As a leadership skill, it involves creating an environment that fosters creativity, innovation, and teamwork, while also promoting transparency and accountability. By embracing agile principles and practices, leaders can help their organisations stay competitive, responsive, and adaptable in an ever-changing business landscape.

Clear communication: The ability to convey information and ideas effectively to others, in a way that is easy to understand and encourages engagement and collaboration. This process includes using appropriate language and tone, actively listening to others, asking questions to clarify understanding, and providing feedback to ensure that communication is effective. Leaders who possess strong communication skills are able to inspire, motivate, and guide their team members, and can create a positive and productive work environment. 

Coaching and mentoring: The ability to guide individuals or teams to reach their full potential. Coaching improves an individual's performance by setting goals, identifying areas of improvement, and providing feedback and guidance. Mentoring provides guidance and advice to individuals seeking to develop their skills, knowledge, and career paths. Both skills require strong communication, active listening, empathy, and commitment to helping others succeed. Effective coaching and mentoring involve setting clear expectations, providing regular feedback and support, and being flexible and adaptable to the individual's needs and goals.

Collaboration, including virtual collaboration: The ability to work effectively with others towards a common goal or purpose. It involves actively participating in a team, communicating openly, listening to others' perspectives, and contributing one's own skills and knowledge to achieve the desired outcome. Collaborative skills also include problem-solving, conflict resolution, and decision-making, as well as being able to adapt to different team dynamics and work styles. Effective collaboration requires individuals to be accountable for their contributions and committed to the success of the team.

Compassionate conflict: Managing conflict in a respectful, empathetic, and productive manner. Leaders with this skill understand the different perspectives and needs of those involved in the conflict, and create a safe and supportive environment for dialogue and resolution. They listen actively, communicate effectively, and encourage empathy and understanding among team members. By approaching conflict with compassion, leaders can de-escalate tensions and find mutually beneficial solutions. This skill also involves setting clear boundaries and expectations, addressing power imbalances, and promoting fairness, equity, and justice within the team or organisation.

Empathy: The ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. It involves being aware of and sensitive to others' emotions, perspectives, and experiences, and being able to communicate this understanding effectively. Empathy is an important skill in building relationships, resolving conflicts, and demonstrating compassion and understanding towards others. Read: Making Empathy Central to Your Company Culture, Harvard Business Review

Empower others to self-organise: Giving individuals or teams the authority, resources, and support they need to take control of their own work and make decisions. It involves delegating tasks, setting clear expectations, providing feedback, and offering guidance and support as needed, while also giving others the freedom and flexibility to manage their own work in a way that best fits their strengths and preferences. This helps foster innovation, creativity, and engagement, and create a more dynamic and adaptable team culture.

Feedback: The ability to provide constructive feedback to team members to help them improve their performance, as well as being open to receiving feedback oneself. This involves being able to communicate feedback in a clear and respectful manner, actively listening to feedback provided, and using it to make changes and improve one's own performance. Effective feedback skills are essential for building strong relationships with team members, fostering a culture of continuous improvement, and achieving organisational goals.

Fosters a sense of connection and belonging: The ability to create a work environment where individuals feel connected to each other and to the larger organisation. It involves building relationships based on trust, respect, and shared values, and creating opportunities for collaboration, social interaction, and team building. Leaders who possess this skill are able to create a sense of community within their teams by encouraging open communication, active listening, and empathy. They celebrate diversity and encourage individuals to share their unique perspectives and experiences. By fostering a sense of connection and belonging, leaders can help to increase engagement, motivation, and commitment among team members, which can lead to improved performance and job satisfaction.

Nurturing growth: The ability to support and encourage the growth and development of individuals or teams. It involves providing opportunities for learning, development, and skill-building, and creating a work environment that fosters creativity, innovation, and continuous improvement. Leaders who possess this skill are able to identify and develop the potential of individuals within their teams by providing feedback, guidance, and support. They create opportunities for learning, such as training programs or mentoring relationships, and encourage individuals to pursue their passions and interests within the scope of their work. By nurturing growth, leaders help individuals to feel valued, engaged, and motivated, which can lead to increased productivity and job satisfaction.

User-centricity: Prioritising the needs and preferences of users when making decisions about products, services, and strategies. This requires leaders to have a deep understanding of their customers and to place them at the center of the decision-making process. Leaders who adopt a user-centric approach can create products and services that better meet the needs of their target audience, leading to higher levels of customer satisfaction, engagement, and loyalty. Ultimately, this can help businesses to achieve long-term success and growth.

Happy cat

Skills concerning organisational culture

 Being open to new ideas and approaches: Willingness to consider and explore different ways of thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making. Being receptive to feedback and suggestions from others, even if they challenge your current beliefs or practices. It also means being flexible and adaptable in the face of changing circumstances or unforeseen challenges. Leaders who possess this skill are often more approachable, supportive, and collaborative. They encourage creativity, experimentation, and risk-taking within their team, and are more likely to embrace diversity and inclusion. They understand that innovation and growth come from new ideas and perspectives, and are willing to take calculated risks to achieve success.

Cultivating inclusivity: Actively creating an environment where diversity is valued, and all team members feel welcomed, respected, and supported. Leaders who prioritise inclusivity work to identify and eliminate biases and barriers, while also promoting diversity and creating a culture of belonging. This may involve promoting education and awareness around diversity issues, creating diverse and inclusive hiring practices, and actively seeking out diverse perspectives and experiences. Leaders who cultivate inclusivity are able to create a more productive and innovative team, where all team members feel empowered to contribute and succeed.

Empowerment: Giving team members the authority, resources, and support they need to make decisions and take ownership of their work. Empowered team members have the confidence to take on new challenges and to innovate, knowing that they have the support of their leader. Empowerment involves delegating tasks, providing training and feedback, and creating a culture of trust and accountability. Leaders who prioritise empowerment create a more engaged and motivated team, as team members feel valued and trusted to make a meaningful contribution to the organisation's success.

High ethics and moral standards: Leaders who exhibit high ethics and moral standards demonstrate the ability to act with integrity, honesty, and fairness. They are committed to doing what is right, even when faced with difficult or unpopular decisions. Ethical and moral leaders hold themselves and others accountable for their actions, which creates a culture of trust and credibility. This fosters loyalty, confidence, and positive reputation among team members, customers, and stakeholders. Ultimately, prioritising ethics and morals as a leadership skill can lead to increased respect, trust, and success for both the leader and the organisation.

Inclusivity: The ability to create an environment that values and respects diversity, and encourages all individuals to participate and contribute. Inclusive leaders embrace differences, promote fairness and equity, and foster a sense of belonging and acceptance for everyone. They actively seek out and listen to diverse perspectives and make decisions that are inclusive and equitable. Inclusive leaders help to create a culture of acceptance and mutual respect, which can lead to higher levels of engagement, productivity, and innovation within teams and organisations.

Inspiring vision: The ability to communicate a compelling and clear picture of the future that inspires and motivates others to work towards achieving it. Leaders with an inspiring vision are able to articulate their goals and objectives in a way that resonates with their team members and stakeholders. They are able to create a sense of purpose and direction that guides the organisation towards success. An inspiring vision inspires innovation, creativity, and engagement among team members, driving them to go above and beyond to achieve the shared vision.

Leading change: Ability to manage and guide an organisation through a period of transition or transformation. Leaders who are skilled in leading change have a clear vision of the desired outcome, and are able to communicate that vision to their team members in a way that inspires and motivates them. They are also able to identify and manage potential obstacles and risks, while also leveraging opportunities for growth and improvement. Leading change requires strong communication skills, strategic thinking, and the ability to build and maintain relationships with stakeholders.

Provides safety for trial and error: Creating an environment where team members feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes without fear of negative consequences. This encourages creativity, experimentation, and innovation, which can lead to breakthroughs and improved outcomes. Leaders who provide safety for trial and error create a culture of psychological safety, where team members feel valued, supported, and trusted. They encourage their team to try new things and take risks, recognising that not every idea will succeed but that failure is an essential part of the learning process.

Psychological safety: The ability to create a positive work environment where team members feel safe to express their thoughts, ideas, and concerns without fear of judgment, retaliation, or ridicule. Leaders who prioritise psychological safety are empathetic and actively listen to their team members, valuing diverse perspectives and promoting open communication. They create a culture of trust and collaboration where team members feel comfortable taking risks and making mistakes, which can lead to innovation and growth.

Respect: Respect involves treating others with dignity, courtesy, and consideration, regardless of their status, position, or background. Respectful leaders show genuine interest in the perspectives and opinions of others and create a safe and inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and heard. They are empathetic, supportive, and fair in their interactions with others, and recognise and appreciate the unique contributions of each team member. Respecting others fosters trust and encourages collaboration, leading to better teamwork and improved organisational performance.

Storytelling: Storytelling is the art of communicating a message through a narrative or a series of events. Leaders who are skilled in storytelling can engage and connect with their team members and stakeholders on an emotional level, making their message more memorable and impactful. Storytelling can be used to inspire, persuade, and motivate others, and can be particularly effective in communicating a vision or a company's values and mission.

Strategic thinking: Strategic thinking is the ability to analyse complex situations, identify potential opportunities and threats, and develop a long-term plan of action that aligns with the organisation's goals and objectives. As a leadership skill, strategic thinking involves anticipating future trends, understanding competitive landscapes, and making informed decisions that enable the organisation to stay ahead of the curve. Strategic thinkers are able to consider multiple perspectives and data points to develop creative solutions that drive innovation, growth, and success.

Teamwork and fellowship: Creating an environment that fosters collaboration, mutual support, and a sense of community among team members. Creating a culture of respect, trust, and inclusion, where everyone feels valued and supported. Encouraging open communication and constructive feedback, and model behaviour that promotes teamwork and fellowship. Providing opportunities for team building and socialising outside of work.

Build strong and effective teams

Resources you may like to read

Why Great Managers Are So RareGallup

This report published by Gallup highlights the scarcity of truly great managers in the workforce and the significant impact they have on employee engagement and productivity. The report draws on a study of over 2.5 million manager-led teams across multiple industries and finds that only one in ten managers possess the natural talent required for effective management. The report identifies five key traits of great managers: they motivate their employees, assert themselves to overcome obstacles, create a culture of accountability, build strong relationships with their team members, and have the necessary knowledge and expertise to effectively manage their team's work. Additionally, the report emphasises the importance of investing in developing managers and providing them with ongoing coaching and support to improve their leadership skills. Overall, the report provides valuable insights and practical recommendations for organisations looking to build a strong management team and drive employee engagement and productivity.


"What Makes a Leader?"Harvard Business Review

The article explores the key traits and behaviors that make a successful leader. It draws on a study of over 3,000 executives and identifies six key leadership qualities: the ability to inspire and motivate, integrity and honesty, decisiveness, the ability to communicate effectively, the ability to think strategically, and the ability to adapt to change. The article emphasises that these qualities are not innate but can be developed through experience, learning, and self-reflection. Additionally, the report highlights the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership and stresses that effective leaders must be able to connect with their employees on an emotional level to build trust and rapport.


The Skills Leaders Need at Every LevelHarvard Business Review

This article describes a study in which 332,860 bosses, peers, and subordinates were asked to identify the top four competencies out of a list of 16 that are most crucial for a leader's success in their current role. Although the required skills varied based on respondents' job and level, the data showed significant consistency in the importance of certain competencies across all four levels of the organisation. The same seven competencies were chosen as most important for supervisors, middle managers, senior managers, and top executives. These competencies include inspiring and motivating others, displaying integrity, problem-solving and analysis, achieving results, effective communication, relationship-building, and developing others.

Great leaders have these behaviours in common – Gallup

 In this article, Gallup provides insights on how one can enhance their leadership skills. Through a comprehensive study encompassing over 14 million employees, 2,000 organizations, 559 job studies and 360 general job demands, Gallup identified the most critical competencies essential for leaders to attain excellence. The study highlights seven fundamental behaviours that have a direct impact on performance and overall outcomes, irrespective of the leader's position in the organizational hierarchy. According to Gallup, these behaviours are essential in creating a high-performance work environment, and they apply to various roles. The seven universal behaviours identified are: building relationships, developing people, leading change, inspiring others, critical thinking, clear communication, and creating accountability.


Leadership in a crisis: Responding to the coronavirus outbreak and future challenges –McKinsey & Company

The report, published in 2020, just before the Covid-19 pandemic ravaged the world, provides guidance on how leaders can respond effectively to the pandemic and other crises. It emphasises the importance of communication, agility, and empathy in crisis management and identifies five key principles for leading through crisis: be transparent and fact-based, demonstrate empathy and compassion, be decisive, show up as a leader, and plan for recovery.


Research paper: Exploring a Taxonomy of Global Leadership Competencies and Meta-competencies – Stewart L Tubbs, PhD and Eric Schulz, PhD, Eastern Michigan University


This 2006 research paper posited that while some aspects of leadership are fixed at a young age and shaped by the family and environment an individual grows up in, others are able to be developed even well into adult life. Its authors present a model of leadership consisting of three concentric circles: Core Personality, Values, and Leadership Behaviours. The authors suggest that Core Personality traits are mostly fixed and unlikely to change through leadership development efforts. Values are more malleable than personality but still resistant to change. Leadership Behaviours, on the other hand, are the most likely to change through development efforts and it is this section that the authors recommend organisations focus on to develop leadership traits in their employees.

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