Transforming Leaders

CPC Business Development

By Ken Keis.

Leadership is missing in our political system, businesses, schools, and even our families. Our streets are filled with wandering souls waiting for someone to build a vision they can grasp.

Everyone is a leader at some level with someone. Leadership skills are required for parenting and being a friend or part of a couple—in your household and at work. We have all seen examples of ineffective leaders, from the lazy boss who expects everyone else to do his work, to the parent of the uncontrolled child at the mall. Leadership is not restricted to the manager of a major corporation; it applies to everyone in every organization.

The challenges for many leaders are that they can manage but not lead; quantify yet not empathize; control but not empower.

Leadership is learned; it is not a skill we receive at birth. To expect someone to automatically know how to build and lead an organization is a fallacy at best.

We must approach the subject of leadership with a fresh, new vibrant attitude where we truly believe each person makes a difference and is a leader in his or her own right. This new way of thinking forces us to consider changes―where collaboration comes before confrontation, empowerment replaces control, and the value of the individual precedes profits or self-centered hidden agendas.

Leadership credibility comes from four qualities: inspiration, honesty, competency, and forward-looking. Effective leaders operate daily according to certain principles for positive change and demonstrate skills that others want to model.

Five skill sets are essential in the development of transforming leaders. Our experience has proven that few people are competent in all five skills. Educational programs can be created to help individuals learn these important skills.

  • Self-Management Skills

This intensely personal yet important area includes the clarification of beliefs, values, purpose, and goals. If leaders are not clear about where they are going and what they stand for, few people will be willing to follow them. Only from a position of self-awareness will you be in a better position to devise a plan to develop and strengthen your weaker areas.

  • Interpersonal Communication Skills

Interpersonal communication skills are the vehicles through which all interactions you have with other people are made more clear and effective. Attending, listening, responding, and questioning are just four of the twelve skills identified as necessary for quality communication to occur.

  • Problem Management and Counseling Skills

Leaders who develop these competencies are able to encourage others to develop and perform to their potential. At the heart of effective coaching and mentoring, these proficiencies are critical to any organizational development. Advanced empathy, problem-ownership, action planning, confrontation, and self-sharing are just five of the twelve skills needed for competency in the areas of problem-management and counseling.

  • Consulting Skills

Group facilitation, clarification, assessment, evaluation, and reporting are included in this skill set. The emphasis of this section is your ability to handle complex situations with an increasingly in-depth set of responses.

  • Advanced Versatility and Style-Shifting Skills

The ability to style-shift into appropriate behaviors that match the style of others is a necessity when building and empowering teams. This skill is for everyone; it can be applied to customer service, supervision, team building, and even spousal/family relationships. This expertise is required for gaining credibility with others and for adapting to the permanent state of change in which we find ourselves

One way to identify your clients’ leadership strengths and weaknesses is through the Leadership Skills Inventory (LSI). The base of the LSI is Transformational Leadership, the belief that leaders can be made, with the right training and guidance. Today’s tough organizational challenges require transformational leaders who can adapt to rapidly changing social and technical environments. The Leadership Skills Inventory provides participants with the necessary feedback to better understand and develop their own transformational leadership skills.

Dr. Doug Perkins, Director of People for Coastal Pacific Xpress (CPX), has taken a number of his company’s senior staff through the Leadership Skills Inventory. CPX, headquartered in Cloverdale, BC, has evolved from one truck and trailer in 1985 to 160 trucks and 250 trailers today, making it one of the fastest-growing, temperature-controlled truckload carriers in the province. In fact, the company serves major markets throughout North America.

“Trucking often attracts lower-skilled people,” states company owner Jim Mickey. “Factors combine to create what I call a ‘stupid business.’ You have a $160,000 truck, you put on a trailer worth $70,000 holding $50,000 of cargo and you trust a guy with no competence. How dumb is this?”

To tackle the problem, Jim and CPX set out to hand-pick the best in the industry. Enter Dr. Doug Perkins and CRG assessments

Doug gives the Leadership Skills Inventory–Self to all CPX managers to evaluate their own leadership skills. To create a full picture of each manager’s strengths, each manager gives Doug the names of five employees who know them well. Doug then distributes the Leadership Skills Inventory–Others to those individuals. To protect people’s anonymity, those who complete the LSI–Others tools return them to Doug, not the manager.

After Doug has received the five LSI–Others for each manager, he averages all five scores and compares them against the manager’s scores on the Leadership Skills Inventory–Self. He then gives the results to the respective manager for review.

Doug and the manager work through the three highest and the three lowest scores in each category. Where the manager received scores that showed he or she was highly competent in that area and capable of teaching that skill, for example, Doug asks the manager to teach his or her assistant how to train the staff in that particular area. Where the manager scored low and wants to improve, Doug teaches or provides resources to help the manager in those areas.

Doug sees the Leadership Skills Inventory as a helpful coaching tool to complement the other CRG resources Coastal Pacific Xpress is using.

Becoming a transforming leader is not an overnight process. You may find it overwhelming and extensive at times, but it will be worth it. You will discover you can make a difference, whoever you are.

Ken Keis is the president and CEO of Consulting Resource Group in Abbotsford, B.C. ( He can be reached at (604) 852-0566 or

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