Different careers require different skills. How confident are you that you have - or can develop - the skills you need to succeed in different careers?

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arrowWill my skills change over time?

We're all able to learn new skills and improve upon the skills we have. It should come as no surprise then that skills that you don't use on a regular basis tend to "get rusty," whereas the skills you practice frequently stay strong, and get stronger. Your skills results here are your current appraisal of your skill set. By no means should you "write off" a skill in which you are currently weak. That being said, your strongest skills are important as you consider your next career step.

Can you succeed in a position that doesn't play to your strengths? It depends on how strong you need to be, and what the gap is between that and your current skill level. And, it depends on how long you'll have to bring your skills up to where they need to be. You also need to ask yourself whether you want to develop that skill, and whether you're going to enjoy using it as an important part of your work.

When considering those skills you may wish to develop, keep in mind the challenges a particular job opportunity may present. Can your current skill set effectively meet most of those challenges? If not, then you may need to determine an intermediate step you'll need to pursue before pursuing that particular job opportunity. But, if you do match up with most of the position's required skills, falling a bit short (but not critically short) on one or two may be an opportunity for you to stretch and develop your skill set in those areas.

The rule of thumb is: people get good, and stay good, at the things they want to be good at (i.e. the things that are inherently interesting to them). And, it is the skills that they enjoy using that are going to make them successful and happy.

arrowWhat if I have lots of high scores, or only a few?

The Leadership Skills Profile measures your confidence in each of 41 different skills, then compares your level of confidence to the confidence of other business professionals. If your confidence in your skill in a particular area (e.g. Quantitative Analysis) is higher than that of 99% of other people, does that mean that you would outscore 99% of them in a Quantitative Analysis assessment? No. If your confidence is higher than that of 1% of other people, does that mean that 99% of them would outscore you? No.

Taking the extremes, we might conclude that someone who has 41 scores all above 95 is amazingly good at everything. On the other hand, we might suggest that he consider whether he generally overestimates his abilities. Similarly, someone whose scores were all below 5 should probably consider whether—and why—he generally underestimates his abilities.

At the end of the day, you are the final judge of whether your results are an accurate reflection of you.

arrowAren't my scores wide open to distortion? How can they be meaningful?

Yes, and no. Let's say that when you did your assessment you marked yourself as an 85 on a 0-100 scale, with 100 meaning "complete mastery of the skill." And, let's say that is, in fact, a distortion—you're not really that good. But, if all the other business professionals are similarly over-confident in this skill resulting in an average of their scores of 98, your 85 may put you at the 23rd percentile. So yes, they're all open to distortion. But, because they're open to distortion by everyone, it tends to be washed out.

Your scores are a measure of your "self-efficacy" in the various skills. That doesn't equate to whatever the "reality" is. In fact, there are few things for which there is a clear objective reality (such as being able to lift a certain heavy weight). For the most part, the "true" level of an ability is much harder to assess.

Self-efficacy is a powerful predictor of actual achievement in a particular realm. So, you should neither blindly accept these results nor reject them out of hand. The assessments in CareerLeader take a great deal of data about you that you provide, then gives you much, much more useful data once it's put through the various algorithms and other computations. But, it's still data, and only you can ultimately draw the best conclusions.

It is useful to get other's perspectives on your skills, which you can do with the 360° Feedback Tool. All you have to do is ask at least four people who know you well to fill out our online response form. (There is no maximum number of people you can ask.) Be sure to tell them that their anonymity is guaranteed, and that the entire process will take no more than 10 to 15 minutes. Simply give them the email address you use to log into CareerLeader, and ask them to go to: www.careerleader.com/feedback/

arrowWhat are these "skills factors?"

The Leadership Skills Profile measures 41 discrete skills. Our research shows that there are four factors that underlie these 41 skills. Why four? Because the analysis produced four. Why these four? Because these were what was generated from the research. The factors were derived purely empirically.

Your results on the 41 skills are presented in these four groupings. Those skills that are most important in making up one of the factors are listed as part of that particular grouping. But ultimately, the factors themselves and the algorithms derived from them, do comprise all 41 of your scores. Some are more important than others, and some are even negatively weighted. The point here is that each factor is much more than the sum of those nine or ten skills in its grouping.

The four factors are a higher level of abstraction than the 41 skills. Think of playing a sport. Each skill makes up one part of what you need to play the sport well (e.g., in football you have running the ball, passing, tackling, kicking, etc.). The factor is the equivalent of how well you put them all together to play the sport.
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