Do you have the essential leadership skills for the unknown?

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In a (fairly) recent issue of the Harvard Business Review three Wharton Business School professors sum up six essential (strategic) leadership skills. After involving more than 20,000 executives to date they found six skills which when used in concert help leaders to better manage the unknown. These are the abilities to:

  1. anticipate: detecting threats and opportunities on the periphery of business
  2. challenge: question the status quo
  3. interpret: elicit complex and conflicting information
  4. decide: make tough calls with incomplete information
  5. align: adept at finding common ground and achieving buy-in, and
  6. learn: promote a culture of inquiry and search for the lessons in outcomes.

In the article you will find a quick questionnaire to determine your score on these abilities and you are encouraged to work on your weaknesses. An interesting and helpful read.

In our attempts to grow it is always good to work on our abilities. Henri Mintzberg in his excellent book Managing provides a long if not complete list of abilities which according to literature would assure success.

Are you ready?

Here’s the list: Courageous, committed, curious, confident, candid, reflective, insightful, open-minded/tolerant (of people, ambiguities, and ideas), innovative, communicative (including being a good listener), connected/informed, perceptive, thoughtful/intelligent/wise, analytic/objective, pragmatic, decisive (action-oriented), proactive, charismatic, passionate, inspiring, visionary, energetic/enthusiastic, upbeat/optimistic, ambitious, tenacious/persistent/zealous, collaborative/participative/cooperative, engaging, supportive/sympathetic/empathetic, stable, dependable, fair, accountable, ethical/honest, consistent, flexible, balanced, integrative, tall (abilities in italics are Mintzberg’s favourites).

Based on this long list of qualities Mintzberg comments that if managers/leaders (he believes management and leadership should not be separated) have all these qualities they will be effective, if not human…

Hence, leaders are inevitable flawed (even superman was flawed)but they need to make sure they are not fatally flawed. What are we doing to ensure this?

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