Two Critical Skills of Leadership

Vision - Set the direction

The first requirement for leadership is the ability to determine a destination. This skill has been presented in numerous ways:

  • Begin with the end in mind
  • Develop a Vision of the future
  • Describe a preferred outcome

Leaders understand the change that must take place and therefore define how the future should look. The direction is often more like a sketch than a photograph. The details may not be complete, and no map exists to reach the destination. But the leader does have a direction and the ability to describe it to others.

A leader stands with courage and says, “This is the way.” Then steps toward the desired destination. Leadership requires initiative and courage.

Initiative because the leader must be aware of the current situation and be willing to do something about it. Courage because the leader goes first, the destination is not yet proven, and the way is not clear.

Whether leading yourself or others, defining a destination is the first requirement of leadership.

Execution - Start walking

Once a vision is clarified, the leader takes action to arrive at the destination.

Notes on effective execution:

  • Focus on the actions that which will accomplish the vision
  • Implement accountability for the leader and others so that progress can be verified
  • Review the vision to gain the confidence and passion for pressing onward
  • Make course corrections as needed to arrive at the destination
  • Adjust both the vision and execution as details become clear

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