Sharpen These 6 Skills and Set Yourself Apart

Want to stand out as a leader? Excel at skills where there is a strong need and weak capacity.

CCL recently analyzed data from 2,339 managers in 24 organizations in 3 countries to understand the leadership gap—the skills that organizations need but their leaders don’t have. Six key gaps were found:


  1. Inspiring commitment. Managers who recognize and reward employees’ achievements are able to inspire commitment from their subordinates. These managers publicly praise others for their performance, understand what motivates other people to perform at their best and provide tangible rewards for significant organizational achievements.
  1. Leading employees. Leaders who have good skills in directing and motivating people know how to interact with staff in ways that motivate them. They delegate to employees effectively, broaden employee opportunities, act with fairness toward direct reports and hire talented people for their teams.
  1. Strategic planning. This skill involves translating vision into realistic business strategies. Managers who are highly competent in this area typically articulate long-term objectives and strategies, develop plans that balance long-term goals with immediate needs, update plans to reflect changing circumstances and develop plans that contain contingencies for future changes.
  1. Change management. Skilled leaders have developed effective strategies for facilitating organizational change. Such a manager views change positively, adapts plans as necessary, manages others’ resistance to change, adapts to the changing external pressures facing the organization and involves others in the design and implementation of change. 
  1. Employee development. A manager skilled in the area of employee development usually coaches employees to improve performance, provides employees with guidance, encourages employees to develop careers and makes sure employees understand their roles.
  1. Self-awareness. This skill involves recognizing personal limits and strengths. Self-aware managers admit personal mistakes, learn from mistakes, seek ongoing feedback and know themselves well.

If you can sharpen your skills in these areas, you’ll improve your ability to address complex future challenges—and set yourself apart.

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7 thoughts on “6 Ways to Succeed as a Leader

    1. The findings reported in the article are from a CCL white paper, The Leadership Gap: What You Need and Still Don’t Have, When It Comes to Leadership Talent ( The data were collected between 2009 and 2015 using our the Leadership Gap Indicator. We surveyed 2,339 managers in 24 organizations in the USA, India, and Singapore. Their industries were IT, Finance, and Manufacturing. The managers’ organizational levels include 3% top executive, 22% senior executive, 31% upper-middle manager, and 25% middle. Thanks for your excellent question!

  1. Thank you for the 6 lessons on leadership. All 6 are good and helpful for people that want to lead and run their own businesses.

    It is very obvious to me that the 5.2m business leaders and business owners in the UK that contribute to the United Kingdom economy and add massive value to the lives of 60m as businesses, they are here solely to make life better and to make life more pleasant, bottom line!!

    You can’t be a great leader unless you are making things better for others.

    “As we look ahead into the next century, leaders are those who empower others”
    Bill Gates

    Life enhancement, making lives better, make life far more pleasant and adding value to others through positive inspiration is a truly great way to be a good business leader.

    I shared some 30 lessons from some brilliant life enhancers in business on LinkedIn if you wish to view them:

    Plus on separate note with my other business, I wrote an eBook with 25 lessons to support business leaders and business owners in business marketing and their business branding development and growth. It here if that’s of interest:

    Thank you again for the great 6 lessons on leadership.

    Its great to know that there are so so many people that make life better, make life more pleasant and make a positive contribution to the economy and to society!

  2. Hi, thank you for a great article. Is there any way the “6 Ways to Succeed as a Leader” graphic can be bought as a poster?

  3. Hi Kelly, we’ve updated the infographic above to include a link so you can click to view and download a large-format, high-resolution PDF version of the graphic. You could get that file printed on any large-format printer for a poster-sized version. Thanks so much for your interest!

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