Leadership and followership
Leadership and followership

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Leadership and followership

3 Reviewing your leadership skills

A skills audit is a useful way to review your skills and gauge how well developed you think those skills are. It could be helpful to refer to a recent CV or application form when undertaking the next activity, as this will remind you of the things you’ve already done.

Described image
Figure 4 A skills audit is a useful way to review your skills.

Activity 3 Personal skills audit

Timing: Allow about 30 minutes

In the table below, you will find a list of skills that commonly appear in leadership job descriptions. If you have personal leadership experience, or access to leadership-related job descriptions, you may wish to add your own suggestions to the empty rows in the table. Score your level of expertise against each skill/ability as follows:

  • 0 = no experience yet
  • 1 = basic
  • 2 = competent
  • 3 = proficient

Add at least one example of when you’ve demonstrated that skill.

When you’ve completed the task, ask a colleague, manager, mentor or friend who knows you well whether they agree with your assessment.

SkillProficiencyEvidence
Ability to inspire and motivate others
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Ability to create and share a clear vision 
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Empathy 
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Integrity 
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Diplomacy 
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Resilience 
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Initiative 
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Self-awareness 
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Self-reflection 
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Self-motivation 
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Ability to influence others 
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Relationship building 
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Negotiation skills 
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Team working 
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Verbal communication 
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Listening skills 
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Presentation skills 
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Ability to drive/lead change 
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Problem solving 
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Decision making 
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Ability to take risks 
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Multitasking 
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Planning and organising 
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Strategic thinking 
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Financial acumen 
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Ability to evaluate information 
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Analytical thinking 
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Discussion

If you group your skills by score e.g. all those that scored 3, all the 2s etc. – what are your perceived strengths and weaknesses? Is there an obvious gap in your experience or is your next step to grow your overall expertise from basic to competent?

For the final part of the activity, talking to someone who knows you well can help you to understand whether your perceptions of yourself are accurate. They may also have ideas to add. Many people underestimate their own abilities!

When you are in a leadership role, your employer will also assess your skills and abilities in a variety of ways. If you can, use the outcomes of those assessments to enhance your audit. Rebecca Fielding explains some of the methods that employers use.

Download this video clip.Video player: lf_1_video_week4_section4_fielding_assessment.mp4
Skip transcript

Transcript

REBECCA FIELDING:
There's a variety of ways that leaders are assessed in the workplace, the most common of which- and most people will be familiar with it- is an appraisal, or a performance review it's also called in other environments. That typically takes place once a year. Sometimes you'll have a mid-year review as well. And that's often with your line manager, sat down to have a look at two main things, really- both what you've delivered in terms of your KPIs, objectives, performance measures- anybody who doesn't know what a KPI is, that's a Key Performance Indicator. So it's all the kind of things that you have to deliver in your job. And then the second set of things is not what you've delivered, but how you've delivered it. This is often where you'll explore things like the values, the behaviours, the competencies of an organisation that they expect of their leaders. So how good have your presentations been? How well have you communicated with people? So typically, an appraiser will cover all of that stuff in terms of a conversation. And from there, you get frequently some form of grade or rating or assessment that says how well you've done that year. So that's the most common way to assess leaders. There are lots of other ways, though. So you can get psychometrics, which will test your abilities to think and perform as a leader. So they'll give you scenarios that you have to think about and work through and make decisions on. You might have 360-degree feedback. That's where you get feedback from your clients, your team, your boss, your peers, and everybody around you. That's why it's called a 360-degree feedback. And that, again, gives you a sense of your competence and ability as a leader. There are development centres. Development centres are much like assessment centres, but they take place within an organisation. And you'll be asked to do certain tasks- working group exercises, maybe do some role play exercises. Everybody hates those. Or some written exercises, some tasks, some analyses. And organisations will often use development centres to measure the competence and assess the competence of their leaders. So there's a whole raft of different ways that they'll do that. Most simplistically- most simply, it's done by your managers and your colleagues watching you every day, observing what you do and giving you feedback about whether or not you're doing a good job.
End transcript
 
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Now that you’ve considered your skills and started to assess where your current strengths and weaknesses lie, the next step is to look at ways to build and develop these skills. In Section 4, you’ll look at the opportunities around you and start to consider practical steps towards enhancing your leadership skills.

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