When I run seminars on leadership, I often share the lessons learnt from the work Kouzes and Posner did to create their book “The Leadership Challenge”. They identified the 4 most important characteristics of a leader that gets the greatest discretionary effort out of the people around them.
Number 2 on this list is “Competence”. (You can find the full list on a past blog post here)
How do you know if someone is competent? The simple answer: they have books on their desk.
The proxy for Competence is whether you have books on your desk. If you care about being competent, you will be competent. If you don’t take care of your learning, if you don’t have a plan for your own development needs – you might accidentally be competent now, but with the changes in the environment you will rapidly lose that competence.
Here’s a recent interview at UCD Smurfit Executive Development where I talk about the need for leaders to take charge of their personal and professional development.
What are the next development steps you will be taking for your own competence?