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Appendix A: The Twenty-Eight Skills and Why They Matter

Sindell, Milo Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Table 3 The Twenty-Eight Skills



Leading Self


Emotional Control





Executive Presence

Work/Life Balance

Leading Others



Conflict Resolution

Influencing Others


Partnering and Relationship Building

Teamwork and Collaboration

Verbal Communication

Leading the Organization


Creativity and Innovation


External Awareness

Inspirational Vision

Organizational Awareness

Service Motivation

Strategic Thinking

Leading Implementation


Coaching and Mentoring

Customer Focus



Monitoring Performance

Planning and Organizing


This category covers how you regulate the kind of person you want to be as a leader and a professional. When you know who you are and can control your emotions, you exude a quiet confidence that inspires others. These skills may appear more like natural talents or traits, but they can be learned. We have worked with thousands of leaders to help them build stronger skills in these areas, and you can do it, too!

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2. The Four Principles of Hidden Strengths

Sindell, Milo Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The rocket fuel for your development resides in your middle. With awareness, effort, and the appropriate resources, you can quickly turn Hidden Strengths into Learned Strengths. They may never come as easily to you as your Natural Strengths, but they will be equally as valuable to you and your organization.

The Hidden Strengths methodology, composed of four principles, provides an important framework for unleashing your Hidden Strengths and ensuring your ongoing professional development:

1. Leverage your traits, and develop your skills.

2. The middle is the source for your development.

3. Practice, practice, practice.

4. Always be working on your Hidden Strengths.

Being effective in the workplace requires a combination of underlying traits and skills. You are born with certain traits or talents, and they are not particularly malleable. On the other hand, skills are an adaptation to your environment. For example, if you are naturally opinionated and outspoken and grow up in an Asian culture, you learn to be quiet even though you feel the compulsion to speak. Learning to keep your mouth shut when you are naturally outspoken is a skill. The workplace often poses challenges where traits may need to be tempered or leveraged and new skills developed as a response to your organization’s needs.

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6. Leading Your Evolution

Sindell, Milo Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

If there’s only one thing you take from this book, we hope it is this: You are so much more than what comes naturally to you. Within you lies a gold mine of Hidden Strengths just waiting to be unleashed. Don’t discount this treasure trove of opportunity lying just beneath the surface. With awareness and dedication, you can leverage these Hidden Strengths to continually reach new levels of performance and success.

Did you know that self-awareness is a key factor in high-performance and long-term career success?12 According to a study by the Korn/Ferry Institute, one way we frequently undermine our potential is by being ignorant of our skills. By taking a narrow view of our capabilities and relying too much on skills we’ve had for many years, we can become “obsolete.”13 Don’t keep your Hidden Strengths hidden. Assessments, feedback, and practice can help you realize your potential to improve. This ongoing evolution is the cornerstone of the Hidden Strengths methodology.

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3. Identifying Your Natural Strengths, Hidden Strengths, and Weaknesses

Sindell, Milo Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The most valuable information you can have is an understanding of your current abilities. With a clear view of your Natural Strengths, Weaknesses, and, especially, Hidden Strengths, you can identify where to focus your attention to help you move to the next level of your profession.

As we discussed in Chapters 1 and 2, pushing your growth and moving outside of your comfort zone are the keys to your personal and professional evolution. More often than not, it takes an event—in this case, getting critical data about where you stand—to jump-start the growth process. Gathering this information is easy to do and should be done annually to keep you on top of your game.

Several methods are available for assessing your skills, including self-assessments and 360-degree assessments. The latter tend to be more robust because they incorporate feedback from all of your stakeholders, including your managers, peers, direct reports, cross-functional partners, and customers (internal or external). In a 360-degree assessment, you might find that comments from various groups differ. For example, your peers and your manager may be harder on you than your team is. You might also find there are gaps between how you see yourself and how others perceive you. (In our experience, this is usually the case.) All of this information is valuable to your professional development.

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Appendix B: Hidden Strengths Development Worksheet

Sindell, Milo Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Why are you doing this? By keeping what motivates you up front, you will be more dedicated and disciplined in your efforts to grow and change. The three key sources of professional motivation are security (compensation and benefits, and job security), identity (organizational and self), and stimulation (new and different experiences and gaining mastery in new skill areas). Make sure that the reasons for change are meaningful and sustainable for you.

What do you need to accomplish over the next year in order to move up? Make sure these goals are aligned with the larger company vision and strategy. Which categories of skills—Leading Self, Leading Other, Leading the Organization, or Leading Implementation—will you need to use to achieve these goals?

Look for patterns in your middle range of skills. Find a cluster of complementary skills that supports your goals over the next year. These are the Hidden Strengths that you should develop next.

Figure out the behaviors you have to change and the new behaviors you need to adopt to turn your Hidden Strengths into Learned Strengths. Talk to your manager and HR department, and do your own research. Make every interaction—meetings, calls, presentations, emails, hallway conversations, and so on—an opportunity to practice these new skills.

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