16 Competencies Guaranteed to Deliver Results

One in three leaders has no outstanding strength. If you have one extraordinary strength you are in the 64th percentile of over 200,000 leaders.

Competency delivers results.

Extraordinary leaders display and leverage at least one extraordinary strength.

John Zenger, author and CEO of Zenger|Folkman, spoke with me about strength-based leadership. He explained that research based on over 200,000 360-degree assessments indicate that effective leaders possess one or more of 16 potent leadership competencies.

Great outcomes are connected to 16 leadership competencies that span five categories:


  1. Displays honesty and Integrity

Personal Capabilities:

  1. Exhibits technical/professional expertise
  2. Solves problems and analyzes issues
  3. Innovates
  4. Practices self-development

Getting Results:

  1. Focuses on results
  2. Establishes stretch goals
  3. Takes initiative

Interpersonal skills:

  1. Communicates powerfully and broadly
  2. Inspires and motivates others
  3. Builds relationships
  4. Develops others
  5. Collaborates and fosters teamwork

Leading change:

  1. Develops strategic perspective
  2. Champions change
  3. Connects the group to the outside world

Leaders with 5 outstanding strengths are in the 91st percentile; Leaders with no outstanding strengths are in the 34th. The good news is you can move from the 34th percentile to the 64th percentile by developing one extraordinary strength.

My first response to their research is I’m not as good as I imagined. My second response is how can I get better?

Zenger explained an innovative path to developing strengths that I’d never heard or considered. Tune in tomorrow for more of my conversation with John Zenger and learn how to strengthen your strengths.

The chart to the left is published in October’s Harvard Business Review.

Effective leadership is more about the way others perceive you than the way you perceive yourself. With that in mind, what extraordinary strengths do your colleagues, co-workers, or direct reports think you have? How are you leveraging your competencies to deliver results?


Part two of my conversation with John Zenger: “How to Magnify the Impact of Your Strengths