Posted by: Jeri Denniston | September 9, 2008

Essential Skills of Leadership

It’s lonely at the top. While running your own company has its merits…you get to call the shots…it also has its drawbacks. One is that as the leader of the organization you need to do the work of leadership. Your job is to set the direction, motivate the troops, and define the vision for the organization. It doesn’t mean you can’t include your team in helping to set that vision, but you are the ultimate decision-maker. After all is said and done, you need to make the tough choices.

In his book, E-Myth Mastery, Michael Gerber identifies the essential skills of leadership as:
1) Concentration – focusing your attention on the work of leadership, especially when you are confronted with the choice of doing the technical work of the business or focusing on the longterm direction of the organization.Remind yourself that you are the “Leader” and you need to do the work of a Leader. This is the skill of how to work on your organization.

2) Discrimination – learning how to choose between alternative courses of action.This is the skill of where to focus your attention. According to Gerber, The most important things you as a leader should focus on are the vision of the enterprise, its substance and how it’s communicated; the business model, the unique way your business works that sets it apart from the competition; the consciousness of the organization (often called company culture), how people are treated, compensated and how work gets done, which translates into the look and feel of the organization; and the end game, when and what is expected to happen and the strategies needed to take you from today to that future outcome.

3) Organization – defining the organizational structure of the enterprise and the relationships between the various departments or divisions. You have to set up the proper structure for collaboration to ensure everyone is working together to achieve the same outcome, your future vision.

4) Innovation – continually improving on everything you do in the enterprise. This means staying abreast of changes in your external environment and making the necessary adjustments to create new products, deliver new services to your customers, and stay competitive.

5) Communication – how you communicate what you expect of your people is, how you listen to their understanding, and ensuring that your communication is clear, compelling and inspirational. This is the skill through which you motivate your staff to excellence.

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