Are You a Balanced Leader? Developing Technical Abilities | Part Four in our 4 Part Series by Jamie

Leaders today need to master a number of skills to be effective. 4 Themes stand out:

  • Cultural Agility

  • Political Savvy

  • Leadership Presence

  • Technical Abilities

Technical Ability

People who possess strong Technical Ability tend to have the following attributes: they are results-driven and action-oriented, process-thinkers, possess good judgment, and look for ways to constantly increase their cognitive ability (“intellectual capacity”).

Results Driven

The need-for-speed isn’t just a catchy phrase used in the 80's movie Top Gun, it’s vital in today’s marketplace…and it often separates the wheat from the chaff in management. Those who procrastinate, hesitate, or avoid risk due to perfectionism are often overtaken by the competition.

Process Thinking

Most things – in work and life – happen in orderly ways. An action produces a reaction. There are always optimal approaches for doing something depending on what you are trying to accomplish. The quickest route, the lowest cost, the least amount of disruption, the highest probability of success or failure… The world is full of explicit and implicit rules. Cultures and organizations can be a maze with many dead-ends, turns, and quick decisions…those who are process thinkers tend to be able to navigate this maze quickly rather than fight it. When process-thinkers begin with the end in mind, they get better results. Period.

Good Judgment

No one is ever right all of the time. Those who demonstrate good judgment make quality decisions and tend to be right more often than not because of the methodology they employ in the decision-making process. Poor judgment have cost people relationships, their jobs, millions of dollars, and have resulted in many closures of businesses. Good judgment matters and those who exercise good judgment, employing the process of making quality decisions are more successful at work and in life.

Intellectual Capacity

It has been scientifically proven that ones basic intelligence is set at birth; however, it is also scientifically proven that the average human only utilizes roughly 10% of his or her brain. The acquisition of knowledge and the ability to successfully apply that knowledge is often a make-or-break characteristic of success.

How do I increase my Technical Ability?

Balance is key. Be results-driven but ensure you are taking time to think things through. Don’t be perfectionistic but be diligent in your thought-processes. The following activities will ensure you are balanced and will help you increase your overall Technical Ability:

Get clear on the end-outcomes: be sure you know what you are trying to accomplish. Get a clear picture in your mind on what good looks like.

Get organized: understand what your priorities are. Check with your manager if it is unclear. Make sure you aren’t taking action on the wrong things. Effective managers typically spend about half their time on 2 – 3 key priorities. Understand what is urgent and not urgent, what is important and not important. Focus first on urgent and important things.

Get committed: make sure you haven’t lost your passion. If you aren’t focused on the things you love to do, consider looking for something for which you ARE passionate. Life is too short to spend all of your time doing things you don’t like. Make a list of things you LOVE to do in your job and things you are LOATHE to do in your job. Organize your day accordingly. If you find that most of the things you do during the day, you loathe, you may want to consider doing something else.

Get going: stop procrastinating. On big tasks, break them down so you can begin to take action. Progress is one of the strongest drugs…and it is completely safe.

Get realistic: stop being a perfectionist. Stop worrying about messing up. Let go. Understand what is “good enough” and what is going way too far. Make sure you aren’t the bottleneck in progress. Make sure you are believing in others and not trying to do work they should or could be doing. Make sure you aren’t being too self-critical. Ask for feedback to make sure you are balancing speed with quality.

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