The Skills Leaders Need to Succeed

Today, leaders and their organizations face challenges unlike anything they faced in the past. The AIIR Leadership Framework defines the leadership skills they need to overcome these challenges and succeed today, and tomorrow.

We leverage the AIIR Leadership Framework to help our clients build better leaders, better teams, and better organizations.

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The Only Leadership Skills Framework Based on Years of Real-World Data to Achieve Real Results

We’ve spent more than a decade working with organizations across industries and around the globe. So many have asked the same two questions: (1) What skills do the leaders at their organization need to succeed? and (2) How can they help their leaders develop those skills?

We analyzed decades of research and development goal data from hundreds of executive coaching and leadership development engagements to create the first complete framework of the skills leaders need to succeed.

Using this framework, organizations can understand what successful leaders look like at their organization and across their industry, help leaders develop the skills they need, and build a powerful leadership pipeline.

Three Domains of Leadership Skills

Leadership is the act of realizing a clear and compelling vision through others. Leadership requires a broad set of skills that fall into three categories: Leading Self, Leading Others, and Leading the Organization.

Leadership skills in the Leading Self domain

Leading Self

Leading Self describes skills that impact a leader on a personal level. The skills in this domain focus on how effectively a leader manages their time, energy, thinking, decision-making, and overall reputation and brand.

Self Management involves how an individual responds to stress, their ability to regulate their emotions, their ability to focus, and other internal processes that affect nearly every aspect of their work.

  • Self-Care

Actively attending to one’s own mental, emotional, and physical well-being personally and professionally.

  • Self-Awareness

Conscious knowledge of one’s own character, feelings, and motives that guide behavior and decision-making.

  • Confidence

A feeling of self-assurance and personal efficacy arising from an appreciation of one’s own qualities.

  • Emotion Management

The ability to be aware of and constructively manage positive and challenging emotions.

Time and Energy measures your ability to effectively focus effort and attention, set priorities, manage time, and delegate in the interest of efficiency.

  • Focus

Effectively concentrating one’s attention and effort on the most pressing needs to complete tasks and deliver on responsibilities.

  • Prioritization

Capacity to organize tasks and actions based on level of urgency and importance.

  • Time Management

Planning and exercising conscious control of time spent on specific activities to increase effectiveness, efficiency, and productivity.

  • Delegation

Getting work done by sharing responsibility for outcomes along with the agency to do what is needed to produce results.

Decision Making refers to your ability to seek out and synthesize newly-acquired information and use it to make sound judgements in balance with intuition.

  • Curiosity

The tendency to recognize and seek out novel and challenging information, ideas, and experiences.

  • Problem-Solving

Synthesizing diverse data sources, analyzing cause-effect relationships, and engaging in critical thinking to make accurate assessments and implement effective solutions.

  • Decision Quality

Making good judgments by balancing data, experience, and intuition.

Leadership Brand deals with your ability to play an active strategic role in your ongoing career development, acquisition of job-relevant knowledge, exert executive presence, and champion your own reputation and visibility in the organization.

  • Career Development

Identifying and implementing strategies for career growth.

  • Gaining Expertise

Acquires new job-relevant knowledge and experiences that facilitate being an expert on the industry, company, product, or technical domain.

  • Executive Presence

Demonstrating self-confidence, poise, and authenticity that inspires confidence in others to believe in and follow your leadership.

  • Leadership Brand

Cultivating one’s reputation at work by making visible one’s identity and distinctiveness as a leader.

Leadership skills in the Leading Others domain

Leading Others

Leading Others involves achieving results with and through others. Skills in this domain involve the ability to build and maintain effective relationships, manage performance, and drive team performance.

Building Trust refers to your capacity to lead authentically in alignment with your values and in doing so instill faith and followership in those you lead.

  • Authenticity

Capacity to be true to one’s own personality, own one’s limitations and mistakes, ask for advice, and receive constructive feedback.

  • Trust

Conducting oneself in a way that demonstrates to others reliability and intention to do the right thing.

Social Acumen describes your ability to demonstrate empathy, actively listen, manage performance, assert influence, and engage in other elements of leaderlike relationship management.

  • Empathy

Capacity to understand and relate to another’s emotional state and see things from their perspective.

  • Listening

Taking time to see another’s perspective in a way that makes the other person feel understood and without interjecting one’s own beliefs or opinions.

  • Building Relationships

Working to build relationships with people who may be helpful in achieving work-related goals and establishing advantages.

  • Strengthening Relationships

Proactive investment in developing and maintaining relationships over time.

  • Managing Conflict

Constructively addressing disagreement to achieve an optimal resolution that minimizes negative impact and leverages positive conflict.

  • Communication

Clearly conveys thoughts, feelings, ideas, and expectations verbally and nonverbally across methods.

  • Influence

The ability to have a motivating effect on others without exerting power and control.

Managing Performance refers to your aptitude for holding yourself and others accountable, coaching, motivating, and developing your team; and empowering others to take ownership of their performance.

  • Accountability

The willingness of an individual to account for their actions, accept responsibility for them, and share results in a transparent manner.

  • Coaching

Helping others improve performance by posing probing questions that guide them toward learning, development, and finding their own solutions.

  • Developing Talent

Efforts that foster learning, employee engagement, and employee development to drive productivity and organizational performance.

  • Motivating Others

Inspiring others’ commitment to their work and organizational excellence.

  • Empowering Others

Providing others with a sense of ownership and the means to achieve something.

Team Effectiveness involves your ability to collaborate with others, lead teams, and champion both team culture and team productivity.

  • Collaboration

Effectively working with others to actualize a common purpose or achieve a shared goal.

  • Team Productivity

Focusing on the efficiency and productivity of a team.

  • Team Culture

Investing in the team dynamics and interpersonal functioning of the team.

  • Team Leadership

Team Leader skills that enable others to work together in a way that produces results and value beyond what could be achieved individually.

Leadership skills in the leading the organization

Leading the Organization

Leading the Organization involves skills that shape the organization’s future. Skills in this domain involve a leader’s ability to set a vision, think strategically, manage change, and build a great culture.

Visioning concerns your ability to innovate, set a vision, and inspire buy-in from others.

  • Setting Vision

Establishing and communicating a clear and compelling future state, usually connected to organizational advances, and reinforcing it over time.

  • Innovation

Introducing a new idea or concept, or advancing an existing idea or concept, in order to derive a novel solution to an existing problem.

  • Inspiration

Communicating and living the organization’s values and aspirations.

Strategic Leadership deals with your ability to develop and manage big-picture strategy as well as manage stakeholder relationships and outcomes for implementing new strategies.

  • Strategic Thinking

To understand the bigger picture of the organization’s current state, where it needs to go, and devising a plan for how it will get there.

  • Strategic Management

The ongoing process of setting goals, making plans, and adapting to realities in order to execute on a strategy.

  • Stakeholder Management

Managing relationships, expectations, and information sharing with the key people who are crucial to the success of a project or initiative.

Driving Change refers to your ability to execute on a vision by way of agile, flexible leadership and navigating change at the organizational level.

  • Navigating Change

Effectively introduces and manages organizational change with clear communication and an ability to lead others through ambiguity and resistance.

  • Leadership Flexibility

Capacity to bend and flex one’s leadership style to match the situation.

  • Execution

Successful actualization of a strategy or set of objectives through collaboration, planning, coordinated action steps, and measuring results.

Culture Shaping deals with your ability to build an organizational culture wherein members feel engaged via inclusive leadership.

  • Culture Building

Introducing intentional practices to grow an organization’s current culture to an ideal state.

  • Inclusive Leadership

Fostering an environment of connection, respect, and involvement for all members of an organization to foster engagement and value creation.