The Skills Leaders Need at Every Level


Recently, a competency model for leadership development was analyzed by a team of researchers at Harvard Business Review. The model was based on the idea that different points in potential leaders’ development, they needed to focus on excelling at various skills. For example, the model proposed that a lower-level manager should focus on driving results while top executives needed to focus more on developing a strategic perspective.

This makes sense on an intuitive level, based on the assumption that one people develop a skill, the will continue to exercise it Interestingly, we don not apply this in athletics as athletes continue to practice and develop the fact same skills throughout their careers. It can be observed that the excellent executives we have met are all very focused delivering results, as lower-level managers are absolutely clear about strategy and vision. This brings up the question: Are some skills more important than others of leaders at certain levels of an organization? O is there a set of skills that serve to be fundamental to every level of management?

In a recent study don’t by Harvard Business School, what was found was that the skills people reported needing depended not only on their current level within the organization but also on the job they held and their particular circumstances. There was a remarkable consistency int he data regarding which skill were perceive as most important on all for levels of the organization that was measured. The same competencies and skills were selected as most important for the supervisors, middle-tier managers, and senior managers alike, while six out of the seven topped the list for top executives. Executives at every organizational level need a balance of competencies. the other nine competencies included in the study were chosen half as frequently as the top seven.

Angel Rodriguez HR VP Kelloggs

The 16 competencies that the study recorded were, in descending other from most popular to least:

– Inspires and motivates others
– Displays high integrity and honesty
– Solves problems and analyzes issues
– Drives for results
– Communicates powerfully and prolifically
– Collaborates and promotes teamwork
– Builds relationships
– Displays technical or professional expertise
– Develops others
– takes initiative
– Innovates
– Champions change
– Connects the group to the outside world
– Establishes stretch goals
– Practices self-development

This data suggest to just that as people move up within the organization, the fundamental skills they need will not drastically change. Our data further indicate that the relative importance of the skills do not change to some degree as people move up. We concluded from the analysis of the data, that there is some logic to focusing one distinct competencies and different developmental stages. More fundamentally, this shows us that there are also a set of skills that are crucial to you throughout your career. If you wait until you’re a top manager to develop strategic perspective, it will be too late A lack of strategic perspective indicate a fatal flaw even when your current job doesn’t necessarily require it. Your managers want to see you demonstrate that skill before the offer you a promotion.

It is useful to ask yourself which competencies are the most critical for you at this moment in your current role. It is also a crucial question to ask yourself which competencies are going to be the most critical in the future for the next level job you wish to pursue. Demonstrating the skills in your current job provides evidence that you will be successful in the next job.