The phenomenon of leadership is still widely discussed and debated. Business schools teach leadership in their curriculum; analysts study the biographies of great leaders and formulate theories about their success; HR managers have their own perspective when hunting for the best, and yet there is still no single algorithm for identifying leaders — each is guided by a common sense and their personal experience.
My personal observation is that the image of a leader consists of three components — Professional Competency, Social Competency and Responsibility. The first component of a leader’s image is Professional Competency which implies that a leader should possess an overall strong knowledge, skills and experience in their field, the presence of additional competencies and soft skills that may strengthen their leadership position.
The second component of a leader’s image is their Social Competency. According to online sources, social competence is defined as “the ability to handle interpersonal relationships effectively”. In other words, social competence refers to getting along with others, being able to form and maintain close positive relationships, and respond in adaptive and flexible ways in a social setting. I believe that this competence is based on seven levels: Body Language, Verbal Communication Skills, Effective Listening, Building Relationships, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Personal Image, and Manners & Etiquette, which I teach at my Genius of Communication course. Practicing these seven levels develops our ability to build healthy relationships and to communicate simultaneously and effectively on verbal, non-verbal, behavioral, aesthetic and ethical levels. A recent study conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and the Stanford Research Center, confirms the necessity of communication and relationship building skills in our careers. It has been shown that 85% of our job success depends on how effectively we interact with other people, while only 15% of job success is attributable to professional competencies and knowledge. The third and final component of a leader’s image is their responsibility. A leader is a person who cares, who has a sense of eagerness, energy and a desire to make a difference, and create change.
Of note, all three components can be developed, much like our ability to learn how to draw or even ride a bicycle. Each of us does have the potential for leadership, unfortunately not everyone is ready to change. The constant need to grow and make things better along with a driving effort is what creates outstanding leaders.