Just as we were getting ready to post this blog, we came across this article published by Inside Higher Ed, Presidential Personality, highlighting new trends in hiring university leaders. According to the writer, “search committees want candidates to possess an ever-broadening set of skills,” which makes the topic of soft skills and leadership all the more relevant.

Could you spot a future President, CEO, or CFO?

There are five personal competencies that will help you succeed, whatever role you find yourself in. We’ve written about four of them recently:

While all of these are important areas for someone taking on a position of power, there are extra skills that set apart the men and women who thrive at the top of the tree.

And even if you’re hiring for a comparatively junior role, it pays to assess candidates’ abilities in these areas. After all, who’s to say how far your star hire could rise?

We’ve picked five skills to look out for, which fall neatly into two larger competency areas…

Managing others

People who can build a team, command its respect and unity —and handle professional and personal issues without losing either—are few and far between.

Great managers are likely to have the following two skills in spades:

  • Selecting and retaining talent
  • Holding others accountable

Whether you’re hiring for a management position, or simply with one eye on the future, you’ll also want to know how these skills apply in that specific role. (Ideally, before you go ahead and fly them across the country for the interview.)

Tapping into references in the right way through an online tool — the process we’ve built a good portion of our business around — can be a great help. It provides a full and honest picture of someone’s real-life management chops, straight from their direct reports and peers.

Here are a few examples of the kind of job-focused questions you should be asking candidate references—before you shell out on that plane ticket…

Sales Manager:

  • How effectively do they measure performance, and hold team members accountable for meeting sales targets?

Project Manager:

  • How good are they at giving assignments to team members according to their capabilities—i.e. delegating tasks according to skill level or area of expertise?

Discover the hard truth about all soft skills…

The leadership skills discussed here may be ‘soft’ – but they may well be the best predictors of management success.

And that’s why it’s so important to discover these skills before you hire – using talent analytics and job-specific feedback from references.

To learn more about why soft skills are so important—and discover the most reliable way to screen for them—make sure you check out our ‘Soft Skills, Hard Benefits’ eBook.

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