Defining critical leadership skills, that are trainable (i.e. not inherent personality traits) is an extremely time consuming and difficult process.
We found, (despite reviewing over 1,000 separate competency frameworks and the millions upon millions of dollars that went into building them):
- 90%+ of the competencies overlap in every framework
- All this effort to build something from scratch, only to end up in more or less the same place
- Save yourself the headache - we outline the 40 universal critical leadership skills
What are critical leadership skills?
We define critical leadership skills as follows:
- Leadership related skills that cover 90%+ of the leadership skills required in ANY work environment
- Leadership related skills that are trainable and are NOT solely reliant on personality traits or intelligence
- Leadership related people skills that an average person can learn (soft skills)
- Leadership related task skills that an average person can learn (hard skills)
These definitions can be compiled into the following statement:
How we identified 40 universal, critical leadership skills
Reviewing competency frameworks:
We recruited a team of Organisational Psychologists, working in both academia and also the commercial world. We reviewed over 1,000 separate leadership competency frameworks including:
Vocational training frameworks
- Various qualification frameworks accross the western world developed for the purpose of issuing nationally recognised qualifications that accredit people in the basics of people management
Corporate competency frameworks (Supplied to us by clients)
- Developed by Organisational Development staff inside a particular organisation, for internal use only
Government competency frameworks / Public sector frameworks
- Development of leadership competency frameworks that cover one or more government departments and are published online for use by the departments and any potential suppliers
Academic literature review
- Skills based competencies that are proposed in peer-reviewed journals, which have been shown to have a correlation to increased leadership performance
Documenting the 40 universal critical leadership skills:
After extensive research and framework review, we started matching them together to identify common elements.
Our goal was to find a set of universal leadership skills that matched at least 90% of the competencies identified in each of the frameworks that we studied. That would be about as close to universal as you can get.
Below are the 40 critical, universal leadership skills that match 90%+ of the competencies in each and every framework we had studied:
|Topic||Critical leadership skill areas|
|Innovation and Continuous Improvement||