I believe there are many skills (an unknowable amount and always in flux) essential to elite leadership. More than this, I believe that to become a great leader, everyday must be oriented toward greatness, no matter the increment.
In my current role (technical project manager / agile coach) I have many opportunities to be great, breaking out like so:
- competency: It sounds like a minimum requirement, but I feel I’m deficient more often than not. I feel that if off the cuff I can answer 80% – 90% of the questions asked by stakeholders, I’m surviving. Greatness strives for perfection. Time I save by not having my team members attend meetings is looked upon highly.
- vision: No, I’m not the product owner (PO), but still I must have a clear vision of the goals of the projects that the team is taking on. Knowing what demarcates the path to completion is half my duty.
- coaching: Pushing the team to be their best is the other half 😉
- enforcement: I have an obligation to protect my team from distractions. This means not only preventing outsiders to interrupt the progress of the team, but also protecting the team from themselves. When meetings are held, I keep them on point, as efficient as possible so that no one considers their participation wasted.
- nurturing: You’d expect this at the bottom of the list if only because it sounds like such a soft skill, but it can be a topic of its own. Simply tuning in to where each team member is with regards to their own hierarchy of needs goes such a long way to helping them identify with their own self worth.
It boils down to this: My job is to stay in touch with what the people are doing and what they need to succeed. I succeed by pushing them toward their success. My goal is for each team member to create meaningful value – both personally and for the organization – each and every day.