Maximizing Your Leadership Skills: It’s As Easy As 70-20-10

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Career Tips

Maximizing Your Leadership Skills: It’s As Easy As 70-20-10

Many people try different learning and teaching methodologies that are backed by science and successful testimonies to boost their abilities as a leader.

But how does one know what works best for them?

Readers may or may not already be familiar with this, so allow us to introduce (or re-introduce) the classic 70-20-10 learning method to maximize the leadership potential of the ambitious and the career-ready.

For those who are interested in learning more and exploring avenues for development, the School of Careers provides a range of leadership training and knowledge-building modules. Take the big leap to career readiness here

What is this rule? How does the 70-20-10 enable one to become a good leader?


Learning and Development experts might already recognize this methodology by name, the 70-20-10 rule (also 70/20/10). To put it simply, this method gets its name due to the splitting up of experiences that help any individual grow into a better leader. These 3 experiences are in the following ratios:

  • 70% challenging experiences and assignments
  • 20% developmental relationships
  • 10% coursework and training



The applications of this rule are as practical as they come since the approach itself is very hands-on.

70% of challenging experiences and assignments indicate that a majority of any leader’s job will involve a constant flow of opportunities that might take the form of new work openings, work-related crises, or any tough daily problems that just aren’t easily solved. These will help them adapt and grow themselves so that they’re better equipped to handle future difficulties. 

The other significant portion, 20% of developmental relationships, means that strengthening personal and professional relationships with work colleagues is just as important as doing assigned office tasks. Why is that? It is clear that as a leader, one will be required to work with a team of people who will be at different ranks, there are people who need to be supervised fairly, higher-ups who need to be reported to, mentors to take advice from, and peers to work at the same level with. Such connections need to be well-balanced and maintained to secure one’s position as an effective leader. 

Finally, the remaining 10% is the part providing a huge boost to this rule. It represents the building and improvement of a solid knowledge base because there is no way one can put something into practice without learning any theory or data. Without a doubt, formal coursework and on-the-job training are the very basics of any new job or position. Practicing and learning with tools/exercises from HR managers or training specialists will supplement the other 90% of a leader’s work experience very well. 

It is unlikely that one will be gaining any of the 70-20-10 experiences unless they already have some work experience, be it permanent, part-time work, or internships. To increase the chances of getting noticed and landing a position, follow these pointers that will help you level up professionally. Also, do check out our comprehensive guide on the top places to go to when applying for work experiences, readers might be surprised to see how applicants can overlook these!

Knowing how to navigate one’s way around the workplace as a strong leader is always an important skill to have. Experts suggest that in relation to the goal of being an effective leader, this rule seems to result in positive outcomes for those willing to try their hand at it. 

It’s important to note that this can be a gradual process and the best way to build one’s skills is to be resilient and ready for challenges, which is expected for anybody who undertakes a leadership role. Be it a position as the head of a university society or a team lead of an important project at the workplace, the ability to bring the team together is not something that every individual can master easily. 

Learning tools such as the 70/20/10 are introduced for the personal development of professional-minded individuals, and no matter what stage they’re at, there is always room for improvement! This is summed up very well in the following sentence:

“The underlying assumption of the 70-20-10 rule is that leadership can be learned — that leaders are made, not born.”



While this short read merely serves to present educational information that may or may not prove to be beneficial in practice for the readers, we hope it helped to create a better understanding of how this specific learning & development technique can be applied to different work scenarios that require solid leadership skills.

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