Everyone who wants – or has – to manage other people needs these Six Skills for Success. They are not optional extras, nor are they skills you learn by rote and hone by practice. They are fundamental tools of engagement which have to be adapted to every individual you communicate with and for every moment you are engaging with them. They are living skills.
Ask yourself these questions:

How much do I question? How much do I listen? If I am talking for more than 20% of the time in most situations, I have not mastered these skills.

When I have a problem what is the first thing I think of? If it is ‘how to solve it’ or ‘what will be the impact of this problem on me’ I have not begun to master this skill.

Can I relate any two different, unrelated objects very quickly? Does my encouraging get results? If the answer to either question is ‘no’ I still need to become creative and encouraging.

Do I aim high? If the answer is ‘yes’ I probably don’t understand what this skill is all about.

Do I use sentences – spoken or written – with more than 25 words in them? If the answer is ‘yes’ I urgently need to learn to communicate simply. And briefly.

Does my team do what I tell them? Well, you work out the need To Lead through Teamwork!

The Six Skills for Success can be taught separately; they can also be learnt as a package. They are shown in the order in which they should be acquired.

To Listen & Question is the key to understanding that schools and universities are generally poor at teaching. Questioning demands relevant questions suitable for the circumstances. It also demands courage in facing (rather than confronting) difficult issues. Questioning is an art more dependent on being able to read other people than knowing what questions to ask.

To Solve Problems is what we have to do all the time. Removing emotional involvement and getting to the heart of the matter are the keys to problem solving. That means being able to discover what is not in the brief, reading between the lines and creatively envisaging solutions other’s cannot see. Listening and questioning is a key to this.

To be Creative and Encouraging Perceiving relationships, which is what creativity is, enables us to project ideas and forecast possibilities. This is how good targets are set and great goals, reached. It requires an understanding both of the role of encouragement and of what ‘to encourage’ really means. It is more than gratuitous, patronising praise. It is a powerful tool that lights the spark of ambition.

To Aim High We mostly know our weaknesses and usually try to remedy them. We often underestimate ourselves because we don’t appreciate our strengths – either what those strengths are or how powerful they can be. Good self-image is being realistic not self-congratulating. High aimers achieve high both for themselves and for others.

To Communicate Simply Brevity is hard work until you are used to it. Once acquired, it is really not so difficult. What you have to say is less important than who you have to say it to. Who you are communicating with is a constantly changing scene because each of us develops from minute to minute. So the skills already shown above are essential to enable you to communicate.

To Lead through Teamwork is the ultimate achievement of those wanting to succeed in business or any organisation. The skill of doing so revolves around your ability to have the stature to command and the confidence to collaborate. Good leaders inform, consult, discuss and decide. While the quality of their decisions depends on the rigorous analysis they apply to issues, the successful execution of a strategy depends greatly on their confidence. Of all the issues we deal with the most pressing – and the most necessary – is confidence. Giving a team good direction by itself does not guarantee success. Adding confidence to the mixture does.

Facing today’s disruptive world you need these six skills.

It may be a matter of urgency.

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