Leadership Competencies: July

I believe in Leadership Development and I have dedicated my career to learning about leadership and helping others become great leaders. I developed a leadership competency model many moons ago and have found and kept a library of competencies accordingly. In March 2018, I decided to start sharing my library online. The same narrative is shared on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Each month, a blog post just like this one will be created housing all the random social media posts from that month.  I hope you find it insightful and valuable as you work towards effective and successful leadership. 

July 2: Organizational Agility

Leaders who have this competency understand the intent and reasoning behind policies, practices and procedures. They understand the culture of their organization, they understand how things get done, and they work through informal and formal channels to make things happen.

Individuals who struggle are on the extreme margin of this competency often appear as posturing or being too political, or perhaps they appear “salesy” or lacking in substance.

On the other side, individuals who haven’t developed this competency fail to get things done outside of their own silo, or fail to recognize that there are other things at play in their organizations. Either a lack of respect/appreciation or lack of knowledge for these informal channels leads to a decreased ability to lead.

As with many of these random competencies, the sweet spot lies in the balance. That being said, where are you?

July 6: Approach-ability

An individual who demonstrates this competency well spends the extra effort to put others at ease – he/she can be pleasant and gracious while also being patient with the stress and anxiety of others. This person excels at listening and gives off a strong sense of being willing to do so.

Someone who confuses approach-ability with like-ability may fail to recognize when he/she needs to define reality or otherwise validate the truth for the other person. He/she may struggle with diving deeper into uncomfortable situations or issues.

An individual who hasn’t developed or demonstrated this competency often appears distant or difficult to read. He/she may put out a “let’s get this over with” vibe, which often communicates to the other that he/she is disinterested.

I find myself decently approachable but my weakness is in deviation; there are simply some people with whom I don’t care to interact. This is a problem – as a leader, I don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing so I need to do a better job at being consistent.

What about you? Are you approachable?

July 11: Dealing with Ambiguity

Someone who has developed this competency can shift gears without drama or dismay, can move forward or make decisions without needing to know every last detail, and can comfortably deal or manage risk and uncertainty.

Individuals who “overuse” or are overly dependent upon this competency often fill in gaps of information with data or things that simply aren’t there or have a tendency to undervalue the need for critical information. They often lean towards risk or new things when it’s more business-wise to wait and research/analyze the situation.

Individuals who haven’t developed this competency are simply unable to deal with change or the unknown – are often crippled by it. They have a tendency to not be efficient because they wait for unnecessary information, they over analyze what they have, and/or they need to touch or finalize everything before moving on.

As always, the beauty can be found somewhere in the middle. That being said, how comfortable are you with the grey areas?

July 13: Managing with Vision and Purpose

Leaders who hold this competency can effectively communicate compelling and inspired vision or sense of purpose to their employees, their stakeholders and customers. They are capable of identifying milestones along the way and often encourage and motivate others towards unified objectives.

Individuals who take this competency to a unhealthy extreme have a tendency to plow forward without clear understanding and buy in from others. They don’t demonstrate the patience and appreciation needed to fully render support.

On the other hand, individuals who haven’t yet developed a good degree of this competency are unable to articulate the vision – they can’t explain it and they certainly struggle with inspiring towards it. They often struggle with adapting to change and find it hard to correct/re-align once things have gone astray.

I know what I stand for and what our company is trying to achieve…I think I do a decent job of ensuring everyone who engages with us understand it and, if I’m lucky, they take that burden on as their own. But I can improve – can’t we all? Is that not our leadership vision and purpose?

July 16: Developing Direct Reports and Others

Individuals who excel at this competency are not only aware of their team members’ goals but helps them construct plans to realize them. They push, cooperate, encourage and support these individuals and strive to offer valuable feedback when necessary.

Individuals who overdo this competency are often overdoing it with just a few people who have responded well to it…not realizing they then overwhelm the minority at the expense of others. Sometimes, these leaders want to push or encourage a particular type of development without considering it may not work for that individual.

Individuals who don’t yet have this competency developed often miss strategic opportunities and learning moments with their team by not pushing people outside of their comfort zone or by assuming what their development goals are. These individuals have a tendency to condemn someone for not having the skills and expertise without first taking responsibility for helping them gain it in the first place.

This is a tricky competency, for sure. As with many of my challenges to you, I encourage you to find the balance and keep it personal. Development is NOT a one size fits all gig.

July 24: TQM – Re-engineering

Now I know that both of those terms probably make you wince – certainly they have been trendy buzzwords, but I urge you to keep an open mind here – this isn’t about the latest concept! It’s about quality management, improvement, and continuous learning.

Great leaders are dedicated to providing quality – plain and simple. They don’t settle for less. They encourage others to improve their work, their competencies, and the organization through empowerment, encouragement and challenge. They allow risk so experimentation and innovation can occur.

Individuals who take TQM to the extreme typically force change for the sake of change. They often fail to recognize when the value isn’t worth the disruption.

Individuals who don’t develop their TQM or re-engineering competencies typically don’t see the need for improvement and quality. They often stick to historical protocols and processes because they are easy or don’t appear to be “broken.” But meanwhile, these protocols become obsolete or waste too many resources without delivering value. These individuals, because they simply can’t or don’t want to see the value in change and improvement, often cripple their teams.

What about you? Are you focusing on quality and improvement? Do you encourage your teams to do the same?

So there you have it folks…a few random thoughts for July. I hope they were helpful. Check us out in August as I am going to put my thoughts on video. EGADS!

  • About the Author

    Heather Kinzie serves as the Chief Operating Officer for The STRIVE Group. With more than 20 years of organizational and workforce performance experience, Kinzie offers consultation; facilitation and mediation; content development and training; and coaching to clients around the country. She oversees a team of experts who utilize a broad, systematic and collaborative approach to analysis, problem solving and consultation.

    Recognizing the critical importance of leadership, communication and effective engagement among teams, Kinzie has spent years learning, applying, evaluating and refining her theories on group dynamics, relationships, problem solving and motivation. Kinzie's clients appreciate her authenticity and creative, pragmatic insights and ideas to improve their leadership abilities, their teams and ultimately their organizations.

    Kinzie is a sought-after national keynote speaker, noted for bringing humor, genuineness and practical perspectives to her presentations. Her relevant and inspiring content resonates with audiences, engaging participants to step into new spaces.

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The STRIVE Group

The STRIVE Group