Developing Leadership Competencies and Improving Communication
At the heart of leadership is the ability to influence, motivate, and inspire others through direct
or indirect ways to achieve organizational goals. Leadership competencies for managers seeking
to develop their teams include ensuring that the lines of communication stay open between
themselves and their employees.
As companies face complex challenges in an ever-evolving marketplace, clear and effective
communication has become more essential than ever. It’s not enough to have the latest
product innovation. Organizations must first ensure that their greatest assets, their employees,
are happy and driven to accomplish their goals. One of the worst fears is losing talented
employees to competitors for any reason, but especially when it’s a basic internal issue of poor
An extensive study of nearly 25,000 managers in 100 organizations spanning over thirty
different industries revealed the top ten leadership competencies (in order of importance):
1. Leading employees: Defined as delegating to employees effectively, broadening
employee opportunities, acting with fairness toward direct reports, and hiring talented
people for the team.
2. Building relationships: Defined as knowing how to build and maintain working
relationships with coworkers and being able to handle problems without alienating
3. Risk-taking: Defined as seizing new opportunities, generating new ideas, and introducing
and creating change in the face of opposition.
4. Change management: A leadership competency defined as using effective strategies to
facilitate organizational change initiatives and overcoming resistance to change.
5. Influence: Defined as being good at inspiring and promoting a vision, and being able to
persuade and motivate others.
6. Communicating information: Defined as effectively communicating organization goals
and being able to inspire through presentation of information (being articulate, being a
good speaker, and having good writing skills).
7. Brings out the best in people: Defined as displaying a talent with employees that is
evident in his or her ability to pull people together into highly effective teams.
8. Making decisions: A leadership competency defined as being action-oriented, decisive,
and following through.
9. Listening: Defined as being a willing and patient listener and being open to feedback.
10. Flexibility: Defined as seriously evaluating other ideas, sharing responsibility,
collaborating with others, accepting criticism well, and not assuming a single best way.
All of these leadership competencies can be summarized by the effective use of one constant
characteristic: communication. To ensure good communication, managers need to not only
encourage their employees to speak freely; they must insist it! The best managers clarify and
verify. They make sure what they say is truly heard, what they hear is truly said, and how both
individual and team concerns can be used to achieve the greater goal.
Managers must be as progressive and proactive as the organizations they serve by:
Paying close attention to both verbal and non-verbal communication. They must be
willing to hear honest feedback and be in tune with the not-so-subtle, non-verbal
communication of expressions, distance, and body language.
Sharing their knowledge and empowering employees to tackle challenges and resolve
their own conflicts.
Having group training sessions and one-on-one coaching sessions. These are highly
effective leadership competencies for developing a more intelligent team, increasing
team unity, and improving individual self-esteem.
Demanding responsibility and accountability. Confidence in employees breeds better
productivity, and regular performance reviews always improve communication.
Talented employees perform for their companies when managers genuinely invest the time in
their development. And with competition higher than ever, productivity and accountability are
critical in every organization.
Companies who want to develop leadership competencies and improve communication can’t
afford to waste time. They can start today by visiting www.ThinkBlueThinking.com or calling