But … Do You Know How to Be a Leader?


Perhaps you’ve been working in a company for many years, and perhaps you’ve escalated to a high level in that company. Does that mean you know how to lead?

Perhaps you work for yourself and have a small staff or perhaps you are building a “start up.” Does that mean you know how to lead others?

The work we do is often the reality of the technical skills we have. We have an engineering degree. We are a scientist or a mathematician or even a high tech person. We’ve studied, we know our field very well, we are valued for our knowledge and what we bring to the table. But, does that mean we know how to lead others?

The weird part about leadership is that it means leading others forward to meet the needs of the company. Management and leadership are taught in universities around the world. People graduate with an MBA or another impressive degree about how to work and forge a path to creating a wonderful company. But, does that mean they know how to lead?

Does a parent know how to parent because they have a child? Even if they study parenting, prepare well, do they always know what to do as a parent?

Situations, in all cases, arise out of the blue. We encounter something we never had to contend with before. We reach out, we ask others (if we’re not stubborn about figuring it out all on our own). Truthfully, though, most of us fly by the seat of our pants much of the time.

But, how does a truly good leader handle these situations? That’s the question.

I was an education major for my undergrad and a Social Work major for my Masters. I became a clinician. I provided psychotherapy for my clients. I also headed up my private practice team and had others working for me. Just because I was working well and competently with my clients, didn’t mean I knew how to lead.

Case in point: I had a member of my team who wanted to own one of the contracts we had with a local non-profit. Instead of inquiring about how to have a bigger part of that contract, she went to the head of that agency, bad-mouthed me and then stole that contract away from me. I was clueless about what I did that might have contributed to that action. I also had no idea how to handle it at all. I didn’t know how to lead.

You can read every management / leadership book in the universe and you can improve your skills; however, there are always things that come up that we have no clue about how to handle.

My approach now, in the leadership coaching I offer, is to teach the leaders powerful tools that give them better access to being a better human being. I believe they are then more capable and effective. There is no secret sauce or no recipe that says: To handle this problem, do a little of this, a little of that, etc. They become more proficient by tapping into their heart, mix it with some skills and hopefully come out with more useful skills at managing.

So, let me share with you the 7 Competencies of Contemporary Male Leadership. Oh, yes, did I explain that my sweet spot – the “who” I work best with – are men.

Why do I work best with men? Three reasons:

  1. When these men work with a male coach, there is often a need to “look good” .. so they might not show their coach what they don’t know
  2. When they work with a younger or middle aged woman, there might be sexual tension or again, a need to “look good.”
  3. With me, because I’m a “mature” woman, there isn’t all that stuff. They don’t need to project the image of knowing everything, they more readily admit when they need help, they are open in a unique way.

More on that in a future blog.

For this article, I just want to list the 7 Competencies and then, each week I’ll talk more specifically about each one in a subsequent blog.

The contemporary male leader brings together all of the positives, the differences, the drivers and motivators that can create a “new” type of manager. In fact, it retires the term manager and describes the new model as a leader, a coach … someone who works with a team, not OVER a team. Someone who isn’t afraid to bring his sense of humanity to the workplace.


“There is nothing more impressive than a leader who is fully accountable to himself!”


Here are the 7 Competencies ( in no specific order):

  1. Authenticity
  2. Tenacity
  3. Humility
  4. Compassion
  5. Involvement with others
  6. Passion
  7. A sense of humor



To be continued ……