5 essential skills for every leader…

Dennis Sparks

I have seen leaders rise or fall based on the presence or absence of one or more of the following skills:

1. The ability to discern and paraphrase the assumptions, values, and points of view of others with sufficient skill that those with whom they interact would report that their leaders accurately understand their perspectives.

2. The ability to effectively manage one’s feelings and to discern and respond appropriately to the feelings of others.

3. The ability to manage one’s responsibilities efficiently and with integrity, which includes but is not limited to email and social media, short and long-term planning, and task and project management.

4. The ability to effectively delegate meaningful responsibilities to others in the school community without micromanagement by providing appropriate support and skill development to ensure success.

5. The ability to facilitate meetings (or when appropriate delegate their facilitation) that achieve their stated purposes and are satisfying to participants.

Do you agree that these are essential skills? What skills have I missed?

6 Responses to “5 essential skills for every leader…”


  1. 1 Jamie April 23, 2014 at 7:44 am

    To your great list, I would add the ability to confront others (and encourage and coach them to do the same) in order to maintain and nurture a healthy culture of authentic, kind, and clear communication.

  2. 2 Dennis Sparks April 23, 2014 at 7:55 am

    Great addition, Jamie…. Thanks for adding to my list.

  3. 3 cm9384Carol April 23, 2014 at 10:11 am

    I would add…The ability to communicate effectively with the entire school community by engaging parental involvement; meaningful interactions and family support throughout the school year.

  4. 4 Dennis Sparks April 23, 2014 at 11:13 am

    Thanks, Carol…. Another important contribution to the list.

  5. 5 Wanda Dean April 28, 2014 at 10:13 am

    A very good list as well as good additions. Next year I will be mentoring some new principals so have started a file. This will definitely go in that file!
    Thanks for sharing.


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