Executive Master of Leadership Blog

The 2 Most Important Political Leadership Skills for Aspiring Leaders

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 7, 2019 8:17:00 AM / by USC Price


In part 4 of Dr. Carol Geffner's interview series with The Right Honourable Charles Clarke, former UK Home Secretary, the pair discuss the two most important leadership skills for business leaders and politicians in 2019.

What leadership skills do leaders need to navigate a turbulent world?

Dr. Geffner: What are the skills or foundations of knowledge that you believe people today need if they're going to lead in a turbulent world, in a world of great uncertainty, whether it's the U.K., the U.S. or anywhere else around the globe?



1. Understand your Subject

The Right Honorable Charles Clarke: Well the first and most important thing is to understand your subject, understand what you're talking about. Many people don't. Some people think they can bluff their way through a process but actually the world today is full of scrutiny. People testing you at every turn. And if you don't know the subject that you're talking about, you will get lost quite quickly.

2. Know your Goals

The Right Honorable Charles 
Second, which is related to that, know what it is you want to do. What changes that you'd like to see, what approach to life would you like to see? And you need to know those two things.

If you can't answer the question, what do you want to get out of this? Then you're finished. You've got to be able to carry it through.

3. Develop Leadership Skills



The Right Honorable Charles Clarke: And then beyond those first two stages, knowing what your subject is and knowing what you want to achieve, the third stage is to develop the round of leadership skills which make that happen.


The Right Honorable Charles ClarkeYou've got to be able to articulate in all kinds of different environments, to speak on television, to talk to a group, to talk to three people to talk to a hundred people, to write a letter, to write an article. Articulation is a very important part of leadership.

The great leaders, business leaders, political leaders, whoever, can articulate brilliantly.

"People who have an illusion that they can do it themselves, are wrong."


Team Building

The Right Honorable Charles ClarkeThe second leadership skill they have to determine is to build a team around them.

There are very few people who can simply do it themselves. Leaders need a team of people who can help them achieve what they want to achieve in the different dimensions, whether it is policy type thinking, presentation type issues, or election strategy, you need to build a team.

People who have an illusion that they can do it themselves, are wrong. They won't be able to. Building a team is very important to carry through.

Dr. Geffner: I'm glad that you mentioned those. If you don't mind I will play this excerpt to my students. You've just given tremendous reinforcement for the hounding that I do with my students around written and verbal communication.


Political Leadership Skills: Interview Series with Charles Clarke

In case you missed previous interviews with The Right Honourable Charles Clarke, check them out here.

  1. Change Leadership: How Great Leaders & Politicians Manage Change
  2. How to Stay True to Yourself: Characteristics of Authentic Leadership
  3. Discovering your Values to Cultivate Integrity in Leadership

Download a brochure for USC's Executive Master of Leadership degree program.


Topics: Leadership Skills, Political Leadership

USC Price

Written by USC Price

The USC Price School of Public Policy's Executive Master of Leadership degree program is designed for experienced professionals ready to take their leadership to the next level.

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