One Skill Today’s Leaders Must Have To Be Successful

Recently, I was in a meeting with a general manager of a hotel. It was a rather large facility with a small conference center. The facility had restaurants, meeting rooms, and of course, hotel rooms and suites, so there was a lot to manage.

The sales manager introduced me to the general manager because she felt that the facility was lacking some basic human resources processes and programs. As a result, the three of us sat down, and the gentleman said, “Well, Ed, I think we could use some training. Why don’t you give me a quote on doing some training here?”

I said, “Whoa, let’s take a step back. Why do you believe you need training?”

He went on to tell me about all the experiences he’s had through his 40-year hospitality career, all the brands he’d worked for, and the sizes of organizations and departments he had managed.

All that was fine, except— he didn’t answer my question as to what his problems actually were.

He was so quick to jump in that there were several times when he cut me off in discussion to answer a question prior to my even asking it. It was clear to me that he already had his replies set and that this was his management style.

One item we discussed was compensation. What scared me was that he believed in giving across-the-board raises to people regardless of their current pay. He believed that if he didn’t do this, people would leave.

I tried to explain that that’s not what studies show actually happens, and that when we do mass raises, where everyone gets the same increase, it actually demotivates the workforce.
He said, “Yeah, but people will leave if I don’t, and I need bodies here.”

I share this story because as a leader, it was clear to me that he felt he knew everything. But even more damaging: He wasn’t willing to sit back and entertain ideas of how things could be if he tried something different that was perhaps out of his comfort zone.

To me, that’s a critical flaw in the skill set of a leader. It all circled back to either his lack of desire or his inability to truly listen and hear some of the ideas I was trying to convey to him.

There’s no shortage of thoughts on what the top leadership skills are in today’s business environment. If you asked various folks for their opinions on the top five leadership skills, you might get some in common, but you’d likely hear different things, too.

I want to talk about the one leadership skill that I think supersedes all others. You can’t get the other skills right if you don’t get this one right.

What is this skill? Click here to read the rest of this article on Forbes and find out.