To accomplish positive social, environmental, and economic impact for communities, leaders are often required to coordinate diverse and decentralized teams across organizations. They are more effective at doing so when they can identify and understand the leadership skills possessed by their peers.
Through our research and client work, we have identified five categories of skills-based capital. The following list describes these categories, as well as associated leadership strengths that leaders can draw from in order to contribute to the success of their impact-focused endeavors:
Intellectual leadership skills are typically associated with leaders who have an innate or highly developed ability to understand important or complex ideas or concepts. These leaders draw on or leverage intellectual or knowledge-based capital through their deep awareness, expertise, or experience regarding a specific issue area, system, or process innovation. They also may be viewed as thought leaders in a field and may have the ability to influence the views of others.
Representative leadership skills are exhibited by leaders who are effective at representing the needs or preferences of a specific constituency or group of individuals. They may leverage political capital through their role, or through access to local, state, or national individuals who are elected, hired, or appointed to positions that can influence or better inform policy, regulation, or management of public resources.
Transactional leadership skills are associated with leaders who are effective at negotiating, especially when bargaining for or structuring access to resources for a partnership. These leaders may have control or influence over significant financial capital that can be directed toward or coordinated for a partnership’s goals, or they may bring a keen understanding of or access to key markets.
Inspirational leadership skills are found in leaders who inspire trust and action across their teams, partners, or groups of stakeholders. These leaders often possess significant social capital, such as a deep reach into a community, or a broad reach between communities, through traditional or innovative networks. These leaders have well-regarded reputations and may be considered a reliable voice for their peers.
Organizational leadership skills are exhibited by leaders who understand processes that better coordinate physical or human capital, or sequence planning and activities toward common partnership goals. These leaders can activate or access significant operational or infrastructure resources at local, regional, or national scales, and may have expertise in logistics, information systems, strategic planning, or facilities management, for example.