berkus_ventures_300ppi copy


The five tactical skills of a great executive

While we are on the subject of great leadership, let’s list the five principal tactical skills of a great leader.  These are not the strategic visionary skills, like leading companies through risky product launches, or steering the course through economic storms where leaders become oversized personalities for their superhuman efforts. These are the skills of daily operation, the ones that make or break a company – from the top.

Think of those leaders from your past or present whom you respect most.  Compare their leadership style with these five skills.

Berkonomics books available at

Berkonomics books available at

Skill number one: delegate. Nothing is more of a turn off to a subordinate than having the boss do the work for that person. Worse yet, failures to delegate make the leader the principal bottleneck in the flow of work through an organization.  A great leader learns to delegate, first.

[Email readers, continue here…] Second: measure the results of delegation.  If there is no attempt to measure, no-one will know if the work is up to standards for timeliness, quality, or the vision of the leader.  There are many types of metrics, some very easy to manage.  But failure to find and use them regularly is a failure at the top.

Third: support. A leader’s duty is to make sure that anything s/he delegates and measures is given a chance of success by providing the tools required to perform the job.  Those include funding, people, training and facilities.

Fourth: reward.  A great leader is a great cheerleader, knowing when and how to reward effective achievement through all levels of the organization.  People naturally work for rewards, from simple recognition to financial incentives.

Fifth: celebrate.  There is no greater feeling than to achieve a goal and to celebrate that with some form of out-of-the-ordinary event.  It can be a simple handshake and comment in front of others who count, or an all-company celebration after achievement of a major goal.  A leader who fails to follow through and celebrate misses a major opportunity to enhance the culture of the organization and motivate the troops to further achievements.

Delegate, measure, support, reward and celebrate.

  • David Friedman


    I cannot argue with the skills you suggest. I learned a neat acronym years ago relating to effective management. PODFU. It stands for plan, organize, delegate, and followup. It’s not too different from yours and is clearly tactical in nature. Surrounding this acronym is the concept of accountability. That is not necessarily a skill per se but it must be clear that whomever has the lead on a project will be held accountable for the results.

  • Bob Kelley

    Thanks for a great cheat sheet blog for almost every smaller company board meeting I’ve participated in. This blog has the makings of a great booklet, or book (with selected non attributable stories) regarding “The five most important skills a board can help shape in a first time entrepreneur”, retitled with “Berkus simplification” .

  • Andrea ALMS

    You have the best tips and suggestions. Thank you. Keep it up! Cheers.

  • Dave, you are right on here. If you surround yourself with the best and the brightest and guide them by using these tactics, you will most assuredly have an amazing team.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Sign up for
Dave's weekly emails

Most Recent Posts