THE DAILY DRUCKER – The Four Competencies of a Leader

Keep your eye on the task, not on yourself. The task matters, and you are servant.

Most organisations need somebody who can lead regardless of the weather. What matters is that he or she works on the basic competencies. As the first such basic competence, I would put the willingness, ability, and self-discipline to listen. Listening is not skill; it is discipline. Anybody can do it. All you have to do is to keep your mouth shut. The second essential competence is the willingness to communicate, to make yourself understood. That requires infinite patience. The next important competence is not to alibi. Say: “This doesn’t work as well as it should. Let’s take it back and re-engineer it.” The last basic competence is the willingness to realise how unimportant you are compared to the task. Leaders subordinate themselves to the task.
When effective leaders have the capacity to maintain their personality and individuality, even though they are totally dedicated, the task will go on after them. They also have human existence outside of the task. Otherwise they do things for personal aggrandizement, in the belief that this furthers the cause. They become self-centred, vain and jealous.

Action point: Set aside 10 minutes every Friday afternoon to give yourself weekly report card on all four skills: listening, communicating, re-engineering mistakes, and subordinating your ego to the task at hand.

Extracted from Peter Drucker’s book Managing the Non-Profit Organization.

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