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The skill set of a good leader must be both wide and deep. Some skills are innate, and others are learned and developed. Remember television’s popular boss, Michael Scott? His skill set was thin and shallow. As much as we loved him, he would have scored pond scum low on any leadership competency test.

On the other end of the spectrum is the strong and successful manager who embraces and strengthens qualities that propel his/her organization forward while creating a positive working environment for everyone involved.

Envisioning opportunities is one such skill, and could even be called the “keystone” skill. A good leader has the ability and propensity for envisioning opportunities within his/her organization. This means that they have a clear vision and focused ideas and goals to make the vision a reality. To envision opportunities, a leader must also generate ideas for change, recognize and use the good ideas generated by others, and stimulate others to think in innovative ways.

What does a leader with this skill look like?

  • She thoroughly understands her organization, as well as the way it should interact with its corresponding industry and marketplace.
  • Her executed goals and direction for the organization’s growth have continually proven to be successful.
  • Colleagues respect her and feel inspired and motivated by her vision.
  • She continually implements new ideas, either of her own making or of those with whom she works.

Envisioning Opportunities does not have to be an innate capacity. It is a skill required of the best leaders that can be both developed and strengthened. The following tips will prove helpful in developing skills around envisioning opportunities:

  • Review your organization from the ground up. Educate yourself on each level and note any areas you may find lacking. Then envision ways to improve those areas.
  • Stay up to date with your industry’s trends.
  • Continuously look for connections between your industry and others, no matter how unrelated they may seem.
  • Find a mentor, be it in your field or simply an exemplary leader in general.
  • Promote idea sharing by brainstorming with colleagues.

As these strategies for development are put into practice, you will notice an increased ability to envision the opportunities around you, and others will notice it, too.