Assess Your Leadership Skills (the soft skills)

Below are ten questions Ben Simonton formulated to assess the leadership skills of his subordinate managers. While more may go into a full assessment, this is a great start. Please note, that you do not have to subscribe or provide any identifying information to answer the questions.

How To Assess Leadership Skills

There are two measurements to apply when assessing your leadership skills or those of a subordinate executive or manager.

First, there is compliance to a defined set of skills, in this case soft skills. Second, there is the effect of those skills when put to use which means measuring the tangible gains in areas such as productivity, employee retention, revenue, customer satisfaction, or some other appropriate metric for your business objectives.

This is not dissimilar to measuring quality. You first assess compliance with quality controls and then you measure the results of complying with the quality controls, such as fewer returns of a product or higher customer satisfaction.

While the second measurement is something we more likely know how to measure, the first requires defined metrics for soft skills that we often do not have. As a starting point, we present you with the Simonton Leadership Skills Assessment Test.

Rank a manager (or yourself) on a scale of 1 to 10 for each with 10 being the best or almost always performs the action and 1 being the worst or almost never performs the action. Add up the points for each question, by pressing calculate score at the end. Again, think carefully about what is being described. Do you really know the answer? If not, then some observation might be in store.

Though this will not take long, we suggest you take the time to answer thoughtfully and sincerely. The questions represent critical actions and behaviors for management to drive innovation and productivity across an organization, division or within a team, no matter how large or small.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email Ben Simonton [click here.]


Does the manager:

1. Provide regular and frequent opportunities (at least weekly) for the people they manage to voice complaints, suggestions and questions, provide reasonable and timely responses to the satisfaction of their people, and provide the support their employees say they need to do a better job?

2. Elicit answers/responses from the team and cause them to use their brainpower to solve problems?

3. Listen to employees with 100% of their attention without distraction, without trying to figure out a response and with the use of follow-up questions to obtain missing details and suggested fixes?

4. Refrain from giving orders to the maximum extent possible?

5. Exhibit a high standard of humility, respect, responsiveness, forthrightness, trust, admission of error, etc. when dealing with employees? (The standard must be higher than the standard expected of employees in their dealings with customers and each other).

6. Publicly recognize employees for their contributions and high performance and not take credit for himself or herself?

7. Openly provide all information about the company to employees to the extent they need or desire it?

8. Use values to a high standard in order to explain why certain actions are better than others?

9. Use smiles and good humor with subordinates and not frowns or a blank face?

10. Generate in employees a sense of ownership of their work?*

(*) In terms of evaluating a sense of ownership: Think about how many people in the group innovate, try to do something differently to change the outcome for the better, are always trying to improve the end product and to do more for the customer, etc? Are the people on the team, the ones being managed, being proactive or only reactive?

The Scores

The above are all drivers of high performing individuals, teams and organizations. It is through the leadership of management that an organization goes beyond being just good at what they do and becomes the absolute best at what they do.

Score: 20 to 49

If you or the person you are evaluating are in the 20 to 49 range or below, you need some real help. Start by making changes towards the above and reviewing what is presented in the many articles and videos we have provided, such as How to Listen Effectively to Drive Performance Way Up!.

Score: 50 to 79

You are on the right path but you need to apply more effort to actually achieving 100% for each of the 10 questions.

You most likely understand the rationale behind the questions, so raising your performance or that of your subordinate manager(s) should be relatively easy.

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Score: 80 to 100

If your score is close to 100, that is over 80, what we would expect to see is a very high performing team with low turnover, low stress, high morale, high innovation and creativity, free communication of ideas, high levels of cooperation among employees, and high customer satisfaction. In short you should be meeting and beating your metrics, both internal and external, and your employees will outwardly show that they love to come to work.

Also, a team or organization with managers scoring more than 80 points will see over 3 times more productivity per person than if the score was 30 or less. You most definitely want to operate in the 80 to 100 range, as a manager, and you want any manager working for you to also operate at this level. This is where sustainable greatness occurs.

So congratulations if that is where you are!

We suggest that anyone with subordinate managers has their managers (or executives) take this test, then review it with them and discuss what actions are required to raise any low soft-skill scores up to an 8 to 10.

Being able to operate in the 80+ arena is within everyone's grasp, because leadership is a science with specific skills and tools to learn and apply for consistent measurable high level performance. The impact on your organization in terms of ROI has been proven to be considerable.