It seems that in today’s business environment, an effective leader needs to be skilled at pretty much everything, from technology, to human resource management, to labor relations, to public relations. Yes, there is much expected of our leaders today. Our leaders, whether it is a startup company or the President of the United States, are being scrutinized even more these days. With the collapse of major companies and banks, the recent gulf oil spill, to the handling of the Toyota brake scandal, leaders are under the microscope and are being held more accountable to their customer, end-user, and/or public.

So, what skills matter most as a leader?

Effective communication has to be at the top of the list. Whether it is internal or external communication, the ability to effectively motivate and empower employees, convey the company’s mission to the public, and properly manage crisis communication, is key to being an effective leader.

Moreover, knowing your “sphere of influence” is just as important. The “sphere of influence” is that area in your organization, which you have identified as the place where you will have the most significant impact. Knowing that you cannot be an expert at everything in your organization, you must decide where you can be most effective and what tasks/responsibilities you can delegate. By fine-tuning your “sphere of Influence” and effectively delegating, your time and efforts will be spent in a more defined area in which you and your organization will get greater results.

Author: Mark E. Lomax is a retired Major in the PA. State Police and the former Director for the Bureau of Training and Education at the PA. State Police Academy, Hershey PA. He is also a former manager for the International Association of Chiefs of Police – Center for police leadership and training. Mr. Lomax is a graduate of the FBI National Academy; he has an undergraduate degree in psychology from LaSalle University, a Masters in Science and Higher Education from Drexel University and a MBA degree from Eastern University, Campolo College of Graduate, and Professional Studies. Mr. Lomax is a managing member of (SLS) Strategic Leadership Systems LLC. You can find more of his work at their website