Being good at your job is not enough to become a good leader. If you have a strong foundation of desirable leadership qualities in addition to your technical skills, you may be a good candidate for leadership training/coaching. Only after you learn and master a highly specialized set of leadership competencies can you call yourself a leader.

Leadership requires a set of highly specialized skills and competencies. 

Leadership skills are not hereditary, and they have but a tenuous connection with the technical skills you need to excel at your job. Intelligent leadership consists of a collection of special skills that one can learn, develop, and improve.

Once you understand this undeniable truth about leadership, you will see why being great at your job has little to do with whether or not you’d make a good leader.

Even if your job is in management and you are great at it, you may not make a good leader.  Managers and leaders are not the same things.

How Do You Know that You’re Good at Your Job?

If we are to take a simplistic approach to this question, the answer is obvious. If you have mastered the technical skills your job requires, you are probably good at it. The reality is more nuanced, however.

If you are good at your job, you are an asset to your organization. As a result:

  • Your peers and superiors value your opinions. They solicit your feedback during meetings, and they factor it in when they make decisions.
  • You are a go-to option for your superiors. They ask you to handle things for them several times a week.
  • Your superiors trust you to handle your projects. Nobody holds your hand anymore, and you still do well.
  • Your managers offer you more constructive feedbackThey have noticed your potential and try to turn you into an even better member of the workforce.

Being a valuable asset to your company requires some traits without which your technical skills don’t amount to much in the eyes of your supervisors and managers.

The Skills of a Quality Employee

  • Commitment: Commitment to the company’s purpose defines an employee’s alignment with the organizational values. A well-aligned employee is loyal to the organization, enthusiastic about work, and flexible in undertaking assignments.
  • Confidence. Skilled employees are confident in their abilities.
  • Reliability. A good employee is dependable, trustworthy, and reliable. Reliability is the necessary prerequisite of employee empowerment and independence. Producing quality work while consistently meeting deadlines is one essential facet of reliability.
  • Collaboration. Most jobs entail teamwork. A good employee respects and supports other organization members, seeing them as teammates striving for the same common goals and ideals.
  • Communication. Good team players are good communicators. The best master nonverbal communication, relying on emotional intelligence and self-awareness.

Depending on his/her position within the organization, a good employee may have to exhibit strong self-awareness, integrity, and other skills associated with leadership, such as empathy and the ability to inspire.

Creating a Good Leader

Employees who possess strong leadership skills are high-potentials and as such, perfect targets for organizational leadership development efforts. In this respect, there is a fine line between being a model employee and being a leader. Ultimately, it is leadership development and coaching that bridges the gap between the two.

Leadership coaching makes leaders out of high-potential employees.

In my books and blog posts, I have always insisted that organizations should view leadership as a collection of skills that employees with the right leanings will find relatively easy to learn, master, and develop. Combined with effective leadership development efforts and programs, such employees can be the answer to organizations’ succession crises.

Being good at your job doesn’t mean that you are a good leader unless your job is to lead people/organizations. If you qualify as a good employee based on what I have discussed in this article, however, you may be a leadership development program away from transcending your current position and becoming a great leader.


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