Leadership: Not everyone’s cup of tea, but a soft skill you can learn and develop.

Talent Management is a key part of a Manager’s role, if you want to be an effective leader and get the best performance from your team; you need to be able to help them develop and future proof their skill sets.

Soft skills, are defined as:

personal attributes that enable someone to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people.

When you’re recruiting for a new role, it’s likely you’ll be looking for candidates who display these qualities. There are various thoughts on what the various soft skills are, but the ones most widely listed include:

  • Leadership: the ability to supervise, encourage, make decisions and direct others
  • Teamwork: the ability to work in teams
  • Communication Skills.
  • Problem Solving.
  • Adaptability. 
  • Interpersonal Skills.

Most soft skills are linked to an individual’s behavioural or personality preferences and values. Problem solving ability is, however, related primarily to a person’s cognitive and reasoning ability – or what people call the Smarts, although there are some elements of behaviour in there. It is harder to develop these mental abilities than it is to develop behaviours.

Taking a Lead on Developing Soft Skills

Let’s take for example the first soft skill: leadership. Not everyone likes to take the lead. A recent HR survey highlighted that ‘Just 9% of UK workers aspire to be managers.’ [via Executive Grapevine]

Some employees are happy to be led and told what to do and indeed in some job roles this is required (e.g. a Private in the Army). Other job roles, however, will almost certainly require the incumbent to make decisions, set objectives, provide direction, encourage and manage performance.

Measuring up – Leadership Skills and Personality

The level of a person’s preference for leading others can be measured in a personality questionnaire.  If you need to develop the leadership skills you first need to have self-awareness of your current level of these soft skills before embarking on strategies to change them. Personality tests are, therefore, used to increase self-awareness and pinpoint the areas of strength and those areas that need developing.

Learning and Development – Interventions 

There are four areas that impact on job performance: (see our earlier post Hiring the Right Person is More than a Game of Chance)

As you move on from selecting your new employees you’ll be focusing on improving, training and developing existing staff with a view to:

  • Increase the productivity and performance of individuals and team
  • Increase the levels of staff engagement and motivation
  • Retain good staff by demonstrating that they are valued by investing in their development
  • Focus on succession planning

This is where learning and development interventions come in.

TalentLens offers three instruments that are widely used in development interventions:

  • SOSIE – a measure of 8 personality traits as well as six interpersonal values and six personal values
  • Golden Personality Profiler – offers deep insight into one’s personality, as well as affords the ability to understand others better.
  • Honey and Mumford: Learning Style Questionnaire – contains 40 statements, which relate to behaviours representing each of the four different styles of learning: Activists, Reflectors, Theorists and Pragmatists.

To discuss your learning and development needs contact our team below.


Photo by Adrienne Andersen from Pexels

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