Leadership Competencies: March

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 of 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. The blog will publish after the first social media post and updated throughout the month as other posts occur. I hope you find it insightful and valuable as you work towards effective and successful leadership. 


March 28: Organizational Awareness and Influence

This competency is all about the formal and informal decision making structures and power relationships in an organization. An effective leader knows who the decision makers are, who these people influence and who can influence them. He/she can predict new events and understand how these events will affect others. He/she uses the formal structures when it is most effective to do so but is also capable of using informal methods to get the work done, find the answers, etc.
Individuals who have not yet built this competency typically struggle or become overwhelmed with lines of communication and/or gateways to information because they simply haven’t built the connections with or awareness of who is in a position of influence. He/she may not have insights into the history of an organization or work group, which serves to cripple his/her ability to work and or help his/her own team effectively. 

March 26: Innovation Management

WHAT? Isn’t that an oxymoron? HA! This competency is about enabling creativity and new ideas to be fully discussed and executed. It includes not only curiosity and effective facilitation, but good judgment and active listening.

Leadership in one margin may look like someone rejecting an idea because it is traditional or “old school” or someone who is only focusing on crazy or new ideas. Perhaps this person focuses too much on ideation and not enough on actual implementation. In the other margin is someone who is incapable of realizing the potential of a creative or innovative idea, or someone who is only comfortable with “tried and true” ideas and solutions. This person avoids risk and is often reluctant to look stupid or do something that may fail.

Today’s business environment demands innovation and creativity. That being said, it goes without saying that successful businesses need leaders who can manage this process effectively.

March 22: Self-development

Well, that seems funny, doesn’t it? That a competency is about building a competency!

Well, don’t be fooled by what appears to be a circular argument. What we’re talking about here is a the commitment to learning and improving oneself. Those who use this competency well are good at self-awareness and willing to admit when they don’t know things. They deploy their strengths to situations that benefit from it, and try to mitigate their vulnerabilities or weaknesses when it benefits the organization or team to do so.

Those “in the margins” may be focusing too much on their own needs – meaning they focus more on learning or improving and not nearly enough on doing. Or they are easily distracted on the “new and trendy idea” that has little substance or positive result on real improvement. On the other hand, the leader who doesn’t have a good grasp on this competency fails to adapt, fails to improve, fails to learn from his/her mistakes.

As always, finding the right balance is tricky – and in this particular instance, finding the sweet spot and growing and learning “just enough” will go a long way in empowering, inspiring and engaging a developing workforce!

March 19: Composure

Effective leaders maintain it! They don’t become defensive or irritated when stressful situations occur, and are rarely knocked off balance. They are often considered the “calm” among the chaos.

On the other hand, too much composure can come across as being cold, uncaring or apathetic. Leaders that don’t show any emotion are often hard to relate to or understand. Not enough composure looks and feels like a pressure cooker, with the person getting easily overwhelmed and often blowing up or behaving inappropriately. These individuals are often seen as being easily rattled or offended.

Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to keep calm and carry on – your ability to remain composed will heighten your ability to influence and lead others.

March 16: Drive for Results

Effective leaders are consistently top performers, have a tendency and commitment to consider bottom line and push themselves and others for results.

Leaders who may be somewhere in the margins are either focusing or pushing so hard for results that they fail to demonstrate concern or empathy for their teams or even the process itself. Or they may waste time, be personally disorganized, fail to set priorities and not committed enough to push through and get to results or completion.

What about you? Do you consider yourself effectively driven?

March 14: Learning on the Fly

Leaders who use this competency effectively are versatile thinkers and learners, look at both successes and failures as an opportunity to learn and grow, are experimental and quickly grasp the essence or underlying structure of things.

Leaders who haven’t quite mastered this competency may be afraid to take chances, may be uncomfortable with ambiguity, may fail to search high and low for answers or context, and have a tendency to simply “stick with the obvious.” On the other hand, leaders who overuse their skill may leave others behind, may seek out change for change’s sake, and may not be good at routine or systematic processes.

The question is…Are you using your aptitude correctly and effectively?

March 12: Personal Disclosure

The effective leader shares his/her thoughts about personal issues, limitations, mistakes and shortcomings, etc. He/she is open about personal beliefs and feelings and is easy to get to know.

A leader who takes personal disclosure to either extreme may find him/herself in a quandary. He/she may be excessively direct or open (over sharing) and this open style may result in a lack of credibility. On the other hand, a leader who doesn’t share anything – he/she is a closed book with a key – also runs the risk of losing credibility because people may find he/she is disinterested in them personally, or that he/she has something to hide.

All of that being said, it seems the competency relies heavily upon knowing where the sweet middle ground is with your team.

March 9: Perspective

Ideally, the leader will consider and/or solicit the broadest possible views of issues or challenges. This enables him/her to identify future scenarios, think globally and have valuable conversations about aspects and impacts of issues.

The leader who takes this to the extreme may appear too speculative or random, and struggle with dealing with the here and now. The leader who doesn’t embrace it enough will appear close or narrow minded, lacking interest or capacity to think outside the box.

  • 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