Keys to Successful Leadership (Pt. 2)

In Part 1 of Keys to Successful Leadership I wrote about influence, trust, and vision. Your car keys allow you to start the engine and drive away and just like those keys, this series provides you with the keys that will allow you to lead to your maximum potential. Every leader has the choice and opportunity to grab onto and implement these keys to successful leadership. Here are three more keys:


A leader’s skills set can allow them to be productive and effective. The task every leader has is to find and concentrate on the skills that allow them to produce the highest results in the area of their responsibilities, while delegating the other areas to competent team members. Larry Bird said, “A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.” The key is to be refining and sharpening your skills by implementing a personal growth plan. Allow your skills to position you toward success in your leadership position.


The best leaders invest a significant amount of time to train and equip their people. Leaders know that training people helps increase their competence level. This in turn allows them to be more effective and increases the organizations bottom line. You should offer training to all of your followers or employees, but the key is to find and focus the majority of your training on the people who have a desire to learn and excel within their position. This will allow you to spend your training time and energy wisely.


Leadership is about building relationships and mobilizing those people toward a common vision. In The Leadership Mandate, I said:

The relationships and friendships you have are the cornerstone to everything you do or strive to achieve. This is why we must invest time and effort into building and maintaining strong relationships. Since leadership is influence, then your ability to connect, work alongside, and relate with other people is a key component to your leadership potential.

To be a successful leader, take time to connect and build relationships with your people. Start today to schedule time to meet with your people both individually and as a group.

Questions: can you add to the list? Which of these three keys do you need to concentrate on?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Kari Scare

    In recent years, I have learned the value of simplifying my life by focusing in on the skills God gave me. I do my best to learn and work every day in those areas and to stay focused there. I try not to get distracted and venturing into areas He didn’t design me to operate in. Also, I worked as a liaison for a college helping set up training programs for local companies, so I fully believe in the value of training workers. Unfortunately, too many companies refuse to take the time to do training, thinking they don’t have the time to take. What they failed to realize is that not taking the time to train their workers created more of a problem than taking the time. The area I need to work on the most is relationships. In fact, that topic is my detailed focus for February. I am learning that relationships really are the key to operating in our strengths and the real focus behind training. As we learn about others, their strengths & weaknesses, we are able to work in our strengths more as we rely on others in their strengths. As we truly learn to work as a team and for strong relationships, all of these elements really start to click, both individual and as an organization.

    • Dan Black

      Great thoughts Kari! I’ve also seen a lot of business fail to spend the money or time on trainings, it’s sad because it can add value on so many levels. I really liked your statement: “relationships really are the key to operating in our strengths and the real focus behind training.” I Totally agree with that. Relationships are so important. The key is to take time to grow and foster them. Thank you for adding such a great comment:) I appreciate you.

  • floyd

    I like the thoughts, especially the one of taking time to meet one on one. There’s much power in that and while it happens by accident, it should be by design. Great take away, thanks, Dan.

    • Dan Black

      I remember one of my past managers who made it a point to meet with her staff individually once a week. It was in a youth facility so we discussed the problems or issues we were having with the kids on our case load and also she provided hands on training. It really made a huge difference. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • Zechariah Newman

    Great thoughts all are keys for sure. Loved the last couple of posts Dan.

    • Dan Black

      Hey Zech, Thank you for reading them. I’m glad you enjoyed the posts.

  • kimanzi constable

    The one I’m working on right now is building relationships. I’ve been blessed to meet so many amazing people in the last couple of years and I want to continue to strengthen those relationships. Good thoughts Dan.

    • Dan Black

      That’s a good one to be working on bro! Staying connected with the people we meet is so important. Thank you for reading and sharing.

  • TCAvey

    It’s during hard times that we can see the importance and depths of our relationships. I remember when my dad died, as I left the funeral some of my closest friends as well as some of my acquaintances were waiting for me. It encouraged me, and helped me see I wasn’t alone in my pain.
    Those people would not have been there for me if I hadn’t of invested into those relationships prior to my trial.
    We need people to help us. And we need to help others.
    We are created for relationships. It’s sad when people neglect relationships for things.

    • Dan Black

      Great point about need people to help and encourage us. Such a valuable aspect. Thank you for being open and sharing.

  • Paul Sohn

    Great job with this Dan! With your decade long of leadership, this distills the top leadership lessons.

    • Dan Black

      Thanks man:) It’s amazing what we can learn when we have been taking action and leading.

  • Loren Pinilis

    I like that Larry Bird quote!
    I think training is a huge thing as well. It’s a large investment often but it almost always wields great returns.

    • Dan Black

      It’s a good one:) Yes, training is defiantly worth it. Thank you for sharing:)