Game-changing leadership competencies you probably ignore!


I think there are some under-rated competencies for leadership that deserve some air-time and highlighting to bring them to the fore. After completing my certification in Conversational Intelligence® I have become hyper-aware of the lack of these competencies in the dialogue and practice of leadership. They would probably be referred to as “soft skills” which makes me crazy, because I think some of these things are actually HARDER than what you might define as the typical skills of leadership ie. strategic thinking and decision-making. So, what exactly am I eluding to here? My invitation is for you to integrate these behaviours into your leadership practice and notice what happens. What impact does it have on your relationships with your team? What shifts happen in the way that work gets done? How is the culture of the team influenced when you show up this way? How is trust strengthened? I am calling these my 5 C’s for Inspiring Leadership:

1. Communication: Never underestimate the need for more communication. You can never really overdo this one because people thrive when they feel informed, clear on expectations, aware of what is happening around them and where the organization is headed. This is an easy one, but often left behind or neglected in the busy schedule of a leader. Set your intentions, book time in your calendar and share what you know to avoid the pitfalls of a team who feels in the dark.

2. Curiousity: This one may surprise you, and honestly before becoming a coach this one was under-valued in my leadership repetoire. What I have learned is that curiousity keeps you open to possibilities. When you listen from a place of curiousity, you ask more questions and that will have a profound impact on the person you are speaking with. They will feel valued, engaged and involved in the work. Curiosity will also serve when you notice yourself making assumptions about what might be going on around you. To avoid the trap of assumptions, get curious and ask some great questions instead!

3. Candor: The ability to bring candor into your conversations is best leveraged with high trust and connection between you and the person you are engaging with. As leaders, we need to shine the light on things that are working and are not working, and that is where candor fits in. You can bring candor into a performance management conversation or a team meeting. Your people really do want to know what you think – for real – and your challenge as a leader is to find a balanced way of bringing in candor and transparency in a way that lands so that people can hear it without feeling defensive or attacked. This is an important nuance that inspiring leaders need to practice with careful intention.

4. Celebration: Creating a ritual of celebration within your organization can be a game-changer. So often we complete projects, feel a sense of relief and move onto the next thing, never stopping to pause and celebrate the project or the people involved. I think this falls on leadership to embrace a culture of celebration and find opportunities to bring a celebration practice into the organization in planned or spontaneous ways. You can celebrate in creative or simple ways, it doesn’t really matter to have a meaningful impact! Have fun with this one.

5. Coaching: The essential definition of coaching is maximizing the personal and professional potential of people. Coaching can show up in your style of leadership and how you support people, or it can be something you invest in for yourself. We all have strengths that can be leveraged, and blindspots that get in the way and coaching is a place to explore all of that. Leadership can be lonely and isolating, and your coach is often the only safe space for you to explore what is going on for you, and come up with strategies to move you forward in alignment with your goals. Inspiring leaders invest in their growth and coaching is the way to expedite your development as a leader!

The 5 C’s of inspiring leadership are complementary to one another and when you deploy these competencies consistently you will build a high trust culture with people who are motivated and inspired to deliver great work. At the end of the day, leadership is about inspiring others and that doesn’t happen in isolation of the 5 C’s. I encourage you to look honestly at your leadership behaviours and practice a few of these right away. Notice what happens. I can’t wait to hear from you on what shifts and kind of feedback you get from your team.