Approximately 83% of enterprises prioritize developing leaders “at all levels” of the organization. Even though most companies emphasize developing leadership skills, roughly four out of ten leaders fail within 18 months of being appointed to their new position.
While the circumstances surrounding each failure are undoubtedly unique, organizations can take steps to improve the success rate of new leaders. One of the most effective ways to improve leadership is to focus on soft skills.
Appointees will need to possess diverse technical abilities to be effective leaders. These abilities, known as hard skills, are generally job specific.
Conversely, soft skills include competencies that are not necessarily job specific. Examples of soft skills include emotional intelligence, reasoning, communication, and attention to detail.
Below, we explore which soft leadership skills you should look for when filling managerial vacancies. We also examine how you can screen for these abilities, and we provide tips for developing leadership skills so that you can promote leaders from within.
Essential Soft Leadership Skills
When screening for or developing leadership skills, we suggest that you focus on aptitudes such as:
Emotional Intelligence: Leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence are able to effectively evaluate and understand their emotions. They are capable of perceiving the emotions of their staff and being respectful of these feelings when communicating.
Emotional intelligence helps leaders effectively interact with and manage the diverse group of personalities within the workplace.
Attention to Detail: Leaders must exhibit attention to detail when assigning work, monitoring employees’ progress, and engaging in other mission-critical tasks. Even a small oversight by an organizational leader can have major repercussions for the business.
Communication: Effective communication is vital for anyone in a leadership position. Leaders must convey expectations to subordinates, update higher-ups on their progress when managing important projects, and address friction between coworkers. All of these tasks require great communication skills.
Change Management: If a leader stays with an organization for any notable amount of time, they will eventually have to manage a significant organizational change; whether this change comes in adopting a new software platform or shaking up the organization’s operational structure, those in leadership positions must know how to overcome these challenges.
Depending on the industry in which you operate, you may need to screen your leadership candidates for other essential soft skills. For instance, individuals who manage remote or hybrid teams will need remote leadership skills.
How Can Employers Screen for Leadership Skills?
The most effective way to screen for important soft skills is to use leadership skills tests. A leadership skills test is a multi-question test that will provide quantifiable data regarding a candidate’s skills and aptitudes.
Numerous skills tests are available, each of which screens for a unique set of talents and aptitudes. A few of the most popular leadership skills tests include Remote Leadership Skills, Change Management, Emotional Intelligence, and Team Management. Each skills test covers multiple topics.
For instance, the Remote Leadership skills test addresses emotional intelligence, learning barriers, remote coaching, goal setting, and continuous improvement. It includes 40 questions in true/false, multiple-choice, and select-all-that-apply formats.
When applicants complete their assigned skills test, results broken down by topic are displayed. This format allows your hiring team to better understand each applicant’s abilities and proficiencies to make an informed selection. There are also skills tests available to measure hard skills so that you can gain complete insights into each applicant’s talents.
If no available skills tests align with your organization’s needs, you can create a customized test. You can combine multiple existing skills tests. Alternatively, you can hand pick questions from various skills tests. Each question has been created and vetted by subject matter experts. This approach ensures the efficacy and applicability of every question.
Other Uses for Leadership Skills Tests
While it is possible to find leadership candidates in the external talent pool, promoting from within is a better long-term strategy. Filling the majority of leadership vacancies with existing talent yields several benefits.
First, current staff members will understand the company culture, values, expectations, and protocols. As a result, they will have a shallower learning curve when stepping into their new position.
Additionally, promoting from within can be a huge morale booster, as many talented staff members will stick around in hopes of furthering their careers. Conversely, top talent is more likely to leave the organization if they believe they will not receive any advancement opportunities.
So, what does any of this have to do with leadership skills tests? Simply, these skills tests can determine which current employees possess desirable leadership abilities and talents. You can also use skills tests to identify talent deficiencies. You can use that information to develop training programs to address those shortcomings.
How to Get Started
Do you want to learn how to use leadership skills tests to develop leadership skills in your organization? Contact us to request a demo.