The One Skill That Will Make Or Break A Leader

by Mark Stagen December, 2, 2019 Leadership and Management

The One Skill That Will Make Or Break A Leader

There’s no shortage of advice out there on different ways to identify leadership potential. Given the impact that a high-quality leader can have on an organization, all this attention on the subject should hardly come as a surprise. After all, spotting potential leaders and providing them with the guidance and development they need to step into a more senior role is critically important if you’re planning to grow your business. That’s why an overwhelming majority of executives regard succession planning as an urgent priority, despite the fact that only 14 percent of them think their company does a good job of it.

Sorting out the relatively small number of high-potential leaders from the much larger group of high-performing employees can be a major challenge. There is a tendency in organizations to reward good performance and experience, but just because someone does well in their current role doesn’t mean they’ll be able to handle the responsibilities of leadership. That’s because being a leader isn’t just about technical skill and expertise, but rather about dealing with people and finding ways to help them excel in their roles.

For executive coach Marcel Schwantes, leadership success always comes down to one key competency: the ability to listen.

In his latest article from Inc., Schwantes explains why listening skills are so important for leaders. Drawing upon an approach that sees leaders as facilitators and supportive figures capable of empowering employees and inspiring their teams, he also provides a number of helpful tips for how you can become a better listener. 


If you’ve ever had to deal with a boss who seemed more interested in reminding you that they’re in charge than with helping you overcome impediments, you probably already understand the value of listening. The most effective leaders realize that their team members have feelings, concerns, and opinions they want to have recognized. Giving them the opportunity to speak helps to boost trust and empower collaboration. That’s why any leadership assessment program should always evaluate a candidate’s listening skills if it wants to know how successful they’ll be in their potential role.

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