“It takes tremendous discipline to control the influence, the power you have over other people’s lives.”- Clint Eastwood. 

Your Outer-core Leadership Competencies Define How You Lead Others

According to the Wheel of Intelligent Leadership I discuss in great detail in my books, leadership stems from your inner core. Innermost competencies, such as your elements of character and concept of self, form the basis of the outer-core competencies that define you as a leader in the eyes of your followers.

Leaders inspire their followers through their outer-core competencies. 

Your concept of self and elements of character filter through your behavioral tendencies, thoughts, values, beliefs, emotions, and references, giving birth to the skills that you apply as a leader daily. Some of these outer-core leadership competencies are:

  • Critical thinking
  • Decision-making
  • Strategic thinking
  • Emotional leadership

Critical Thinking

The intelligent leader may or may not possess impressive lexical knowledge. From the perspective of the organizations such individuals lead, lexical knowledge is not a significant factor. What forward-looking organizations need are good problem-solvers able to make independent decisions while inspiring similar behaviors in their followers.

Independent decision-making and effective problem-solving are skills rooted in critical thinking.

We all think all the time. Most of what we think up naturally, however, is biased, distorted through prejudice, uninformed, and, therefore, low-quality. Critical thinking is a controlled mode of thinking. A person capable of such an intellectual exercise possesses the ability to impose standards on his/her thoughts and mold them according to a consciously established structure.

Critical thinkers look at problems from many perspectives and consider a bevy of psychological, cognitive, and emotional factors when devising solutions.

As I have established in my leadership development books, the key to critical thinking is the ability to recognize assumptions, evaluate arguments, and draw conclusions.


The intelligent leader adheres to a decision-making process that is fully aligned with the organizational culture and takes into account the context of the decision as well as the authority structure that underpins it.  

Quality decision-making involves the use of the leader’s instincts, emotions, intelligence, and wisdom.

  • Rational decision-making involves the collection and analysis of data, considering the quality of its sources. It also covers the thorough assessment of alternative choices from a logical perspective.
  • To make decisions aligned with the needs and values of the organization, a leader needs to listen to his/her heart.
  • Instinct stems mostly from experience and the reservoir of references the leader has built over time.
  • Wisdom is the overarching element tying together the other factors into a whole that will stand up to scrutiny.

Strategic Thinking      

To think and act strategically means creating a compelling and viable mission complete with quantifiable goals, developing synergistic strategies, and deriving optimal tactics for achieving the set goals.

Strategic thinking is a key outer-core leadership competency. 

To think and act on a strategic level, the leader needs to understand his/her organization and the business environment in which it operates.

Emotional Leadership

Emotional intelligence is one of the cornerstones of intelligent leadership. It is part of the paradigm that best sums up the leadership needs of the post-industrial age.

It is an ability that allows leaders to understand the emotional implications of every situation on every possible level and make decisions based on this knowledge.

I have defined some of the components of emotional intelligence as self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, social skills, and empathy.

In our next post, we will delve into the remaining five outer-core competencies: communication skills, talent leadership, team leadership, change leadership, and drive for results.

My Intelligent Leadership Online Academy focuses on unleashing outer-core leadership development by triggering the required mindsets and behaviors through the inner core.

If you are interested in learning more about leadership development, check out my books as well as my speaking and coaching services


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