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Leadership and followership
Leadership and followership

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2.1 Different employers value different skills

As you can see, these are different models each emphasising different facets of leadership. Some are presented in a very formal style, others are more informal. Most are clear about how the themes and dimensions should impact on all employees regardless of their role.

If you are interested in working with small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), you may have to look harder for a list of their preferred leadership competencies. Smaller organisations often don’t have the resources to develop and publicise relevant structures. You could talk to someone in a senior position to better understand their priorities, or look for clues on their website or in their annual report.

Activity 2 What leadership skills do employers value?

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Choose the leadership frameworks of at least two different employers. Either use the ones outlined here or choose an organisation that means something to you and try to identify its leadership focus. You might find leadership discussed in a framework, a professional development programme, a job description or recruitment literature.

Use the space below to consider the following questions:

  1. What are the similarities between the frameworks you have chosen?
  2. What are the differences?
  3. Are they written in a different style?
  4. Do they highlight different skills?
  5. Can you see why they would focus on different elements of leadership based on their context?
  6. Do you feel more aligned to a particular style or culture?
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The more you understand about the ethos of leadership in an organisation, the better you’ll be at aligning yourself with the culture, and working and progressing within it.

If you chose to look at the leadership skills prioritised by your own organisation, or one that you want to work for, you’ll now have a list of the skills you need to develop. Alternatively, you may have realised that their ethos doesn’t work for you and be starting to consider other approaches that do.

By comparing two frameworks, you can see the relevance of context again (as discussed in Week 2). Reflecting your understanding of their context will be attractive to employers during an application process.

Rebecca Fielding draws on her extensive experience of recruiting leaders for a variety of organisations to summarise key skills and attributes, including self-awareness and self-belief.

Download this video clip.Video player: lf_1_video_week3_section2_fielding.mp4
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Understanding the skills and abilities that employers value is an important part of preparing for a leadership role. They will be looking for evidence that you have the skills they require. In the next section, you’ll start to assess your own skills and to identify any gaps in your experience.