How often do we see someone who we consider to be an expert in a given field and admire their work? As a citizen of the United States of America, have you peeked at The Federalist Papers and considered about the deep thought and clear communication which went into these writings? How about sitting in-front of a museum art-piece and taking in the details addressed in the artist’s work? We see professional athletes in our televised sporting events, but how often to we really consider the blood, sweat, and tears that helped them elevate beyond high school and collegiate athletics?
Being a competent leader is not a destiny or the completion of a complex equation. Leadership takes many skills, but demands competency in core components. There is the artful side of leadership, where one must know the people with whom they are charged and the direction of the industry into which they are thrust. A leader must orchestrate multiple tasks and operations much like a conductor of a symphony. To be an exceptional leader, one must also understand the technical or operational aspects of each team member’s duties well enough to coach and direct the team while observing and revealing blind spots which may create obstacles to success. The competent leader is consistently on a journey.
To ensure I am being a competent leader, I must be diligent in key aspects of my daily life, such as:
Show up Every Day - This is more that just being physically present. I need to be engaged in both the relational and tactical aspects of my role!
Keep Improving - Not every day is going to be a huge step in professional growth. The key is whether I am running, walking, or crawling…keep moving forward. I need to read books that challenge my thought process or provokes new ideas and put these ideas into practice.
Follow Through with Excellence - Look at the output of my work. Does it reflect excellence, or mediocrity? Did I use proper grammar, is my message clear, does my team understand my intent…these are some of the questions to which I need to answer every time I communicate.
Accomplish More than Expected - Am I going the extra mile? Have I pictured the end goal before beginning? Do I ensure the output is on-time, within budget, accomplishes the desired goals? Do I help position others to thrive?
Inspire Others - This can only be done if I, myself am inspired. Do I have a mentor, coach, or cohort who will help push and encourage me to out perform my previous expectation? In my case, I do and I would encourage anyone who aspires to leadership to do the same.
Do I believe that I am a competent leader? Maybe, but the true answer of my competence can only be seen in the outcome of those who have trusted me. How am I removing obstacles to the success of others? How am I shielding my team from internal or external politics that end up being distractions? Am I seeking, reviewing, and/or providing tools for others to thrive? The answers to these questions help define my competence. These can be best answered by those who are around me and effected by my actions.