The 108 Skills of Natural Born Leaders

The following self-assessment measures how well you apply the 180 skills of natural born leaders. Your scores clarify the specific skills that define your success as well as those skills that you need to improve in order to become a more effective leader.

Respond to each statement in terms of how others would rate you. Answer based on your general pattern of action -- how you typically behave in most situations. Avoid basing your responses on unique situations.

The assessment consists of nine sets of statements. Each set correlates to one of the foundational, leadership direction and influence skills of natural born leaders. After you complete the assessment, the scoring key will provide a scale to determine which skills you need to develop further.

As another option, ask other key individuals to complete the assessment for you, based on their interpretation of your skills.

The Self-Assessment


Think of a core group of key people you need to willingly follow your lead. Using the scale from 1 to 6, to what extent would the members of this group agree with each of these statements about how you actually behave?

1 - Very strongly disagree
2 - Strongly disagree
3 - Disagree
4 - Agree
5 - Strongly agree
6 - Very strongly agree

Set One: Self-Awareness
1. Always approaches work with intensity and focus.
2. Does not get worn out or rattled even when demands are high.
3. Uses time effectively, especially in the face of multiple, competing demands.
4. Learns from all experience.
5. Seeks feedback from all sources on a regular basis.
6. Has a strong, positive sense of self; knows and understands him/herself.
Set Two: Capacity to Develop Rapport with People
7. Easily finds a common ground that creates a bond with others.
8. Demonstrates sincere empathy toward everyone.
9. Makes him/herself available and interacts with others in an easy, open manner.
10. Expresses appreciation on a regular basis for others' actions and accomplishments.
11. Demonstrates rock-solid character, ethics, and principles in all circumstances.
12. Creates an atmosphere of trust at all times.
Set Three: Ability to Clarify Expectations
13. Establishes clear and agreed-on expectations with others in all situations.
14. Always clarifies when people's expectations limit or restrict their thinking and action.
15. Explains the organization's expectations whenever people need clarification.
16. Relies on facts versus assumptions or inferences to clarify expectations.
17. Identifies any and all rumors, clarifies their validity, or finds out if they are true.
18. Displays a high level of optimism in all circumstances.
Set Four: Ability to Map the Territory to Identify the Need to Lead
19. Analyzes all situations from alternate perspectives to identify issues and concerns.
20. Speaks with many different people to recognize issues and concerns that need attention.
21. Focuses on both the long and short term, global and local issues.
22. Constantly monitors the impact of change.
23. Displays refined business acumen in every situation.
24. Learns quickly in every situation.
Set Five: Ability to Chart a Course of Leadership Action
25. Takes the most important action first to resolve a problem or exploit an opportunity.
26. Considers multiple courses of action whenever possible.
27. Charts action courses that focus on customers first.
28. Offers direction that is doable and makes a difference in all circumstances.
29. Demonstrates good citizenship with every leadership decision.
30. Always takes decisive action and knows when to abandon a course of action.
Set Six: Ability to Develop Others as Leaders
31. Attracts people who have raw talent and who want to develop their skills.
32. Coaches and trains all aspects to enhance people's leadership potential.
33. Continuously appraises people's skills in all facets of their performance.
34. Allows others freedom to identify and resolve issues on their own whenever possible.
35. Uses diversity as a strength in all situations.
36. Works with individuals at their own pace to develop their leadership skills.
Set Seven: Ability to Build the Base to Gain Commitment
37. Builds credibility with every action.
38. Takes on tasks and positions that increase the capacity to influence others.
39. Shares power with key followers whenever necessary.
40. Conspicuously supports and defends key followers whenever necessary.
41. Models commitment to effective action and positive results in all circumstances.
42. Forms alliances with key followers to enhance the capacity to influence others.
Set Eight: Ability to Influence Others to Willingly Follow
43. Always demonstrates how others will benefit if they follow a course of action.
44. Communicates all directions with a consistent, precise, and compelling message.
45. Always communicates in ways that followers understand and find acceptable.
46. Works through any resistance so others accept a course of action.
47. Accepts that some people will not follow and continuously works to gain willing followers.
48. Uses established relationships to influence others throughout the organization.
Set Nine: Ability to Create a Motivating Environment
49. Molds an organizational culture that is strong, adaptive, and vision driven.
50. Always creates clear performance standards to increase motivation toward success.
51. Clarifies each person's role and encourages everyone to take a leadership role.
52. Fosters open communication, allows decision participation, and provides feedback in all interactions with others.
53. Resolves conflicts in a mutually satisfactory manner whenever possible.
54. Uses the full range of incentives to motivate others.

Scoring Key

Add up your scores for each set of skills and record them in the space provided here.

Set One _____
Set Two _____
Set Three _____
Set Four _____
Set Five _____
Set Six _____
Set Seven _____
Set Eight _____
Set Nine _____

Scoring Interpretation

Compare your total in each column with the following scores to determine your status:

Excellent 33 - 36
Very good 29 - 32
Good 25 - 28
Some improvement needed 21 - 24
Substantial improvement needed 20 or below

Your Action Approach

Continue your exceptional work in any skill area where you scored an "excellent" in the self-assessment. Skim through the chapters dealing with those skills. Pick out one or two skills that you feel may need some fine-tuning. Try out a few of the suggestions offered to enhance these skills. Consider ways to sharpen your skills in the areas where you scored "very good" or "good." Review those chapters to find the specific skills that you feel deserve more attention. Select several of the choices to develop those skills and work on them whenever possible.

Take action to improve in any skill area where you scored "some improvement needed." Read those chapters carefully. Evaluate which skills demand the most attention right away. Systematically work to improve each skill as soon as possible by applying several of the suggestions offered.

Create an immediate development plan if your score indicates "substantial improvement needed" for any skill area. Study those chapters with intense focus. Select those skills you clearly recognize as needing work. Seek support from others to help you on your path to improvement. Eliminate any external barriers that may impede your application of those skills. For example, let's assume you have a low score on Set Seven, "Build the Base to Gain Commitment." Barriers may exist to forming alliances (statement 42) because you work in a field office and the key allies you need work in headquarters. Find a way to take an assignment at headquarters for even a short time period. Or accept the constraints on developing this particular skill and work to offset it with increased effectiveness on another skill. For example, you might work on building your credibility with those at your location who can serve as links to key allies in headquarters.

Remember that the journey begins with percentage improvements. Make some degree of change each day.

©2001 Warren Blank.. All rights reserved.

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