Leader Capability

Skill & Talent

Success as a leader - sometime the key factors are refered to as SKA, standing for Skills, Knowledge, and Attitude. Based on what I have experienced with hundreds of leaders, here is how it breaks down.

Natural Ability

I would like to say you can learn anything, but the fact remains that you cannot.  Some of us have more aptitude than others.  Thank nature, or thank nurture, I dunno. 

Consider an athlete who has the finesse and coordination to place a perfect lob or position a key pass.  Muscle memory is a factor, but there is something deeper that we cannot harness.  The natural.

Sorry, I cannot help you attain this.  If, however, you are sure you are capable naturally and are not deploying it well, see the other factors at play in the Tao model and address those that are actionable.  The next one is a good example.

Training & Education

Thank goodness there are things we can learn.  Enter the training and education activities so intertwined with our leadership position.  Lifelong learning should be something you have resolved yourself to.  You may be hard-pressed to find a good leader that would admit he has stopped learning. 

If you are in a corporate world, your training or HR department probably lays out for you a map of requirements for growing professionally.  That helps.

If you are on your own or in small business, this it your responsibility. Better have a road map for the education that will build your career. Look for balance in interpersonal development as well as technical.  As you go up the ladder, the people skills get more critical.

In a technical environment?  See the Techie to Manager tools for adapting those hard skills to ones that resonate more with people, not robots.

Deployment of Tools & Techniques

I can send you to training, but I cannot make you use it.

Implementing what you have learned is an entirely different skill set.

It takes discipline. 
It takes feedback. 
It takes coaching. 
And somewhere in there it is fine to have a little fear of failure.  Chances are you will not implement your newfound education flawlessly right off the bat.

I may sound like CD skipping, but consider the value of coaching when working on your implementation.


Take a pill.

Yeah, I actually said that.
I know, there is more to it than that ... The way I see it,  attitude is a symptom of the other key factors.  So when you get the others in line, the attitude will often folow naturally.

One thing you can do - keep a check on it.  You may send messages about your attitude without knowing it.  Use your feedback channels for this.

Keep mining?  To visit the other 2 aspects of exceptional leadership: Self-Awareness and Reinforcement, click below.

Tao of Leadership the Big Picture

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