What are the Five Leadership Skills Every Leader Must Master?

By Alan Gehringer

5 Key Leadership Skills

dateTue, Jul 25, 2023 @ 09:30 AM

I was going through some materials and came across a file that one of my good friends and mentors had5 Key Leadership Skills given me in a training session a couple of years ago. It was material developed by Bill Bonnstetter, the Chairman of TTI Performance Systems, Ltd. I am a big fan of TTI and have used their services to learn more about myself when hiring. The great thing about their approach is that everything is based on real world data they collect, and they just keep re-validating and improving on their work.  

As Lao Tse stated, “He who knows other is learned. He who knows himself is wise.”  I think I am still working on the wise aspect, but I always attempt to learn more about human behavior, leadership, and myself. I would like to share some of the key points from Bill’s presentation on leadership.

According to TTI’s research on 23 soft skills, there are five skills necessary to be a strong leader:

Personal Accountability

Demonstrating initiative, self-confidence, resiliency, and a willingness to take responsibility for personal actions.

Some examples include doing whatever it takes to get the job done, bouncing back after setbacks, admitting mistakes and working to avoid repeating them and accepting responsibility for achieving goals for others.


The ability to personally affect others’ actions, decisions, opinions or thinking. 

Some examples are gaining commitment from others to achieve results, persuading others in a positive and honest manner, analyzing others' opinions, and leading them to understand and accept alternatives.

Goal Orientation

Energetically focusing efforts on meeting a goal, mission, or objective.

Some examples include demonstrating persistence in overcoming obstacles to meet and accomplish goals, taking necessary calculated risks to achieve results, acting with a sense of urgency, recognizing opportunities, and acting independently.

Interpersonal Skills

The ability to interact with others in a positive manner.

Some examples are seeking out and developing strong positive relationships with others, having the ability to work with a wide range of people at all levels and with different personality types and backgrounds, communicating well with others while considering their needs and building trust and credibility with others. 


Demonstrating self-control and an ability to manage time and priorities.

Some examples are effectively managing emotions and reactions, effectively managing time and priorities to complete initiatives on time, striving for balance in life, continuously improving, and using logic and reason to develop rational alternatives to current assumptions.

"Leaders need a compelling vision, and it’s best if it’s tied to their passion.” Bill Bonnstetter

I have always believed that the key role of a leader is to cast a compelling vision for the organization, build the right team, and develop people while inspiring a sense of hope for a better and more rewarding tomorrow. I think the five skills listed help support these beliefs. Give some thought to each and ask yourself if you possess them and are practicing them. Also, please let me know of any other skills you think are important to be an effective leader.

Good luck and lead strong, Alan 

“If you think you are a leader and no one is following, you are just out for a walk.” Randy Widrick

Looking for more information about Leadership? Check out our additional resources:

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Free CEO Playbook for Success


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images
Editor's Note:
This post was originally published Dec. 13, 2013, and has been updated.

Alan Gehringer


Photo Credit: iStock by Getty Images