How To Upgrade Your Leadership Skills In Six Simple Steps

AdVance Leadership » How To Upgrade Your Leadership Skills In Six Simple Steps


Leaders often face challenges when taking on new roles or pursuing new goals. The key is to upgrade your competencies.

Whenever you, as a leader, take on a new role or pursue a new goal, you face a common challenge: developing the new skills necessary to lead your team into the future. Here’s what typically happens:

  • When you’re promoted to a new role: You were likely promoted based on your existing competencies. After your transition, you relied on the same skillset that got you there. However, your new position requires a new set of skills. If you continue to use your old skillset in your new role, your time and attention will be sucked away by doing the work instead of leading the people.
  • When your company sets a new goal: If you are like most leaders, you continue doing what you were doing without evaluating the new skills required to help the organization achieve its newly defined goal.

Both of these experiences result in you becoming a “leashed leader,” your current responsibilities surpassing your abilities. When you become leashed, it:

  • Slows down team productivity
  • Hinders organizational growth
  • Dampens employee morale

To upgrade your competencies, follow these six steps:

1. Recognize the direction of the organization: Is your company aiming for a major goal? Are there significant market challenges or industry disruptions ahead? The more you understand where the organization is headed, the better you can lead your team there.

2. Determine your team’s unique role: Your team plays a specific role achieving your organization’s goals. Clarify that role to gain a better understanding of how to lead the team effectively.

3. Identify what the organization and team need from your leadership: As a leader, your role is crucial in shaping the future and leading your team toward it. Create a clear vision of the desired future, gather your team around it, and mobilize them to turn that vision into reality. Determine what your team needs from you, such as keeping them focused on the future, calming their nerves in a volatile market, or assisting them in establishing new processes aligned with the future.

4. Identify 1-2 competencies to develop: Whenever you encounter a new role or goal, your competencies must grow. Identify the specific skills you need to develop as a leader. Some common competencies include:

  • talent identification and development
  • spoken and written communication
  • industry knowledge
  • motivating a team
  • strategic planning
  • conflict resolution
  • systems thinking
  • decision making
  • vision casting
  • team building
  • budgeting
  • training
  • coaching

5. Leverage your strengths to develop new competencies: Rather than focusing on fixing weaknesses, adopt a strengths-based approach to growth. Use your existing strengths to develop new competencies while also acknowledging and addressing your weaknesses.

For instance, let’s say you need to develop the competence of using budget reports to make important business decisions. While you may not have a natural talent for understanding numbers, you might excel at developing processes. Leverage your process development skills to review and comprehend the reports. Then, create a set of questions to guide yourself in making better decisions based on the budget.

6. Take action to develop new competencies: Answer the following four questions to determine how to develop your new competencies:

  • Who do you need to recruit? Are there individuals with the desired skills who can mentor you?
  • What do you need to learn? Identify important information and consider resources like books, conferences, podcasts, or online courses.
  • What habits do you need to develop? Establish regular habits that contribute to upgrading your competencies.
  • What do I need to stop doing? Assess your commitments and consider quitting, automating, delegating, or negotiating to free up time for competency development.

Remember, whenever your role or goals change, it is essential to upgrade your skills. Follow these six steps to simplify the process.


Schedule 10 minutes this week to take these six steps so you can develop a plan to grow your competencies.


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