Why leaders must be ‘SMART’ to succeed

According to a leading learning and development consultancy, there are five key areas in which leaders must be proficient to carry their organisation forward

Why leaders must be ‘SMART’ to succeed
To succeed, leaders of today and tomorrow will need a diverse mix of soft skills and technical business skills.

According to Development Beyond Learning (DBL)’s latest book, The Leader’s Edge, these skills are summarised under the acronym SMART.

Situational Understanding

A leader begins by assessing where they are as an organisation and then where they need to move to in three main areas: people, purpose and performance.

“It’s understanding the current situation and where you personally fit into that, and how the rest of your team sits in relation to those elements,” said Gary Lear, chairman and co-founder at DBL.


“With all the challenges that are placed on a leader’s head, one of the most important factors is the ability to motivate themselves and then motivating others to create a high performing team,” said Lear.

Advancing goals

“Taking a business forwards is not just about behavioural leadership but how you set a great strategy,” Lear said. “Setting a great strategy and vision is important for the organisation, and advancing goals is based on that strategy and vision.”

Reviewing actions

“The leader must be able to place things in context in their organisation and within their global focus,” Lear explained. “They must be able to move people and their people structures forwards to adapt to any upcoming changes.”

Tracking progress

According to Lear, this means consistently reviewing your own leadership and your organisation’s progress.

“One of the biggest problems we get into is almost like a treadmill of doing the same thing every day and expecting a different result,” he said. “Leaders need to start looking at tracking progress so they can bring about change quickly within their organisation.”
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