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Soft skills Audit


The associates have been working for over 8-10 years with the company. As they know the process very well, they feel their promotion as Team Leader is overdue. The company has options of Team Leader and Technical Leader. While they are somewhat suited for the latter, the associates do not show the basics skills of leadership.

We are toying with the idea of a skill audit to help them analyse their capabilities. I would like to know that is this approach appropriate? If so, what are the tools available for a Skill audit?

Since they are senior associates we need an approach which will be motivational and encouraging for them.

All suggestions are welcome!
Saurav Dutta

6 Responses

  1. Do they know what’s required?
    Hi Saurav

    Probably not the answer you were looking for, but a couple of questions for you

    1. Are they aware of what behaviours are expected of them as a leader? Has it been made clear to them?
    2. Has the company ever spent any time developing them into potential leaders?

    It’s a bit chicken and egg – do you look for people with the appropriate skills already there and promote them or do look for people with the appropriate attitudes and potential and then help people develop those skills so you have the team leaders of the future.

    You say you want something motivational for them – investing time and effort developing them is motivational. Then at least if they don’t make the grade they have had every opportunity to prove themselves.



  2. No simple answer
    It sounds like you’re in a technical environment ? The world is plagued by techies mistakenly promoted into management as a way to recognise or keep them. Many are not ‘people people’ and they do untold damage to those reporting to them. Training/HR people pick up the pieces and businesses can be seriously damaged if they get into senior positions.

    I support what has been said below, but it’s more complicated. Understand what they really need – more money, more recognition, whatever, and address it. And it’s not one size fits all. For example, if there’s a business case to pay some of your best techies as much or more than those who manage them, do it. If someone comes up with a really innovative idea that will make the company money, recognise it. Find a career structure that gives them choices – up cannot be the only way.

    In expansion of what was said before, run a rigorous experientially-based development workshop for aspiring leaders so you and they can see what they can do. Some will deselect themselves after that and others will have greater respect for the difficulties of a management role.

    Good luck,

    Peter Dunn

  3. Soft skills audit
    Thanks Peter and Sue.

    The scenario is that most Managers and TLs hadnt gone thru any Leadership development till last year. Most were promoted on basis of process expertise. As Managers and TLs also they did not display much different in tasks handled.

    Last year, we conducted Leadership programs for all of them. Since then quite a few changes are becoming visible. However, earlier practices of Managers and TLs have set a feeling amongst Senior Associates that as TL one just needs to sign few documents and needs to be a Process Expert.

    We are putting this area straight by sighting more Leadership qualities expected from people.

    Sue, I liked your questions. Yes, they have been told about expected qualities of a leader. But what is seen is more believed. So the past observations are the truth for them.

    Is there any Soft-skills audit which can help? What else can be done?

  4. Job Descritions
    Hi Saurav,
    Obviously this needs to be handled with care and expectations need to be managed. However length of service does not equal readiness for promotion. If you were employing an external person in a leader role you would normally compare them to the job description and role profile/person spec if you have them. I would suggest using these with internal applicants. promotion is not based solely on performance in current role but the perception of how they would perform in the future role. If these are not available it can be useful to measure applocants against your current “star” leader. After the comparison a development plan can be created for the individuals. However care must be taken to ensure they understand the plan will help their chances of promotion but there are no guarantees.

    Good luck-please contact me if you wish to talk this [email protected]

  5. Self / Peer/ Manager Assessment??
    I agree wholeheartedly with all the commenst below; I have recently adapted a Manager Skills Assesment from Business Balls for use in a very similar situation.

    It allows a self rating against a no of ‘leadership’ behaviours/skills/atributes and asks for either a peer or manager to cross reference. This should then open up a discussion (if the ratings are very different) and build a picture of their development needs, which you can then meet! – Simple as that, if only!

    Try their free download (provided you respect the copyright)or please feel free to contact me direct.

    Best Wishes,


  6. Leadership Skill Audit
    Hi Saurav
    I have a very detailed Leadership TNA questionnaire based around 10 competencies, with approximately 70 behavioural indicators that you may be able to use / adapt. I sued it as a basis of developing a 6-module Leadership programme for Team Leaders and Managers.
    Very happy to share with other zone members – just drop me an email at [email protected].
    Happy Days!


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