Leaders must be competent. The Office
of Personnel Management (OPM) created one of the simplest and best lists
of competencies necessary for supervisors, managers and executives. The
competencies are: Leading Change, Leading People; Building
Coalitions/Communicating; Results Driven and Business Acumen. See:
Supervisors must be able to lead change if they expect to succeed. In the
winter 2007 issue of Armed Forces Comptroller I discussed seven
steps to implement positive change. They are: assess and address human
concerns; demonstrate strong leadership; build trust; articulate the
process; create an enabling environment; celebrate success and
institutionalize the change.
Some people believe leaders lead people and managers manage things. This
wrong thinking leads some supervisors to resent the time they must spend
dealing with people. My February and March 2008 columns addressed the
importance of leaders and managers knowing their people.
CEO’s of major corporations and managers of the nation’s largest companies
rate the ability to communicate effectively as the most valued attribute
of people who get promoted—and for good reason. Leaders must communicate
and build coalitions; that is, they must be able to get a diverse group of
individuals and organizations to work together to reach common goals.
Many years ago I worked for a boss who would ask me, “What business are we
in?” I quickly learned the answer he wanted. “Sir, we are in the
results business,” I replied. This answer is true whether one is engaged
in business, finance, education or religion; certainly every leader is in
the results business. Good intentions are nice, but results count.
Since results count, leaders and managers must be able to assess the
landscape with a keen awareness of how the organization can succeed—at
turning a profit, educating students, recruiting people or reaching the
goals of the organization. No single skill is more important than business
acumen for leaders and managers.
Next month we will
consider Leadership Character.