core competencies

By September 18, 2010Leadership

As I grow and develop as a leader, I’m becoming more convinced than ever that there are certain core competencies every leader must have — not that they are nice to have or should have … but ones they must have.  So, with that in mind, here is the first in what may be a series of posts about core competencies.

Core competency: Clarity.  A leader must be clear about multiple things:

  • Why they lead
  • Where they are leading
  • Why others should follow them there
  • What values they will refuse to violate
  • What they expect from those they lead

Clarity brings focus to situations that otherwise might get fuzzy.  Clarity itself is a form of discipline, pushing us to define what it is we’re trying to do — and what it is we’re not trying to do.  Getting to the point of clarity is nearly as beneficial as reaching the end goal.  In some cases, it may be the end goal.

In the absence of clarity, conflicts flare up over issues that in and of themselves may not be that potent.  When a leader isn’t clear, followers lack the confidence to proceed with boldness.  (As an aside: When the early Christ-followers faced opposition, they prayed “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly — Acts 4:29-31.  I would speak boldly, too, if the place where I had just prayed for boldness began to shake.   How’s that for clarity!).

Clarity isn’t a cure for the common cold, but it is a cure for many things that infect organizations, businesses, or churches.  It helps cure misunderstandings, brings relief to anxiety, and builds up your immunity to shoddy thinking.

So, if you’re endeavoring to be a leader — be clear about what it is you’re doing.