Skills: Self-Evaluation Quiz

This quiz is a self-assessment tool for recent entrepreneurs to identify which of the most important soft skills for Human Resource Management they do or do not possess. If you are a manager of a small to medium sized company (SME), this quiz will provide you insight into which of these highly important soft skills you have a good command of, and which you should improve. It is becoming more and more apparent that the success of SMEs depends greatly on the soft skills that managers can apply to their work and also detect in their employees. The tool is intended to provide some understanding about what these skills are and how they should be applied in the SME management context. The outcome of the self-assessment will provide feedback on the level of knowledge you have in relation to each soft skill listed below which you can use as a basis for improving the skills which you may lack.

Instructions : For each question, choose one of the options below. When you are finished, you will be able to see your score along with the right answers and feedback.

Emotional Intelligence

General definition of the skill

According to Oxford Languages, “emotional intelligence is the key to both personal and professional success.” Emotional intelligence (EI) refers to the capability of a person to manage and control his or her emotions and possess the ability to manage the emotions of others as well. In practical terms, this means being aware that emotions can drive our behaviour and impact people either positively or negatively. The 4 categories of EI are: Self Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness and Relationship Management. 

Specific definition of the skill

Emotional Intelligence in Human Resources Management is of the utmost importance for resolving conflicts, coaching and motivating others, creating a culture of collaboration, and building psychological safety within teams. Managing emotions is crucial in situations where people are under pressure, such as giving and receiving feedback, meeting tight deadlines, dealing with challenging relationships, not having enough resources, navigating change and working through setbacks and failure. 

Talent and team Management

General definition of the skill

According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development, talent management is “the systematic attraction, identification, development, engagement, retention and deployment of those individuals who are of particular value to an organisation. This may be through their high potential or because they fulfil critical roles.” It is a continuous process that seeks to utilise individuals’ strengths for the greater benefit of the team, whether that be players on a sports team or employees in a business. 

Specific definition of the skill

Talent and team management concerns the recruitment and maintenance of the work force in order to ensure the success of the company. This involves making the company an attractive place to work, recruiting the right people for the job, retaining those employees, and helping them engage in personal and professional development. It is essential for businesses to have a talent and team management strategy alongside their HR policies. Managing talent is like managing a team; all employees should be placed in a role where they can utilise their strengths and improve upon their weaknesses.  Thinking long-term about this strategy and adapting it to the needs of the company and workers will help the business grow. 

Communication

General definition of the skill

Communication is the skill of being able to articulate a message to a person or a group, either directly or indirectly, and being able to convey the right meaning from sender to receiver. Communication happens through a range of media and can be transmitted verbally, visually, aurally, and physically. 

Specific definition of the skill

Human Resource Communication as a skill is the ability clearly formulate your company’s policies, goals, visions, culture and values to your staff and potential employees, as well as being able to create strong and understandable messages and listening to your employees. 

Leadership

General definition of the skill

Leadership combines the traits of strong interpersonal skills with the ability to stay focused the overall mission, thus making the person (the leader) able to maximise the efforts of others towards achieving specific goals. 

Specific definition of the skill

Human Resource Leadership is the ability to exert social influence that inspires the workforce to do their best for the company, as well as being able to spot the right talent for the right task, direct a team of people towards a specific goal, and being a driver of change when needed.


Flexibility/Creativity

General definition of the skill

Flexibility is the capacity to adjust to short-term changes quickly and calmly so that you can deal with unexpected problems or tasks effectively. It usually involves coming across a problem and being able to offer up solutions that might fix it.  

Creativity is the use of imagination or original ideas to create something original, alternative, and new. Creative people are able to view things from different perspectives and come up with ideas that demonstrate thinking outside the box.  

Specific definition of the skill

Workplace flexibility emphasises the willingness and ability to adapt to change, particularly regarding how and when work gets done. For example, a flexible manager might allow employees to work remotely or make other arrangements about working conditions which make employees feel comfortable and satisfied.  

Creativity in the workplace can include coming up with ideas for streamlining efficiency and productivity. Creativity builds better teamwork, improves the ability to attract and retain employees and increases problem-solving abilities. 

Organisational skills and Time management

General definition of the skill

Organisational skills allow you to stay focused on different tasks, and use your time, energy, strength, mental capacity, and physical space effectively and efficiently in order to achieve the desired outcome. 

Time management is the strategy of planning out your available time and controlling the amount of time you spend on specific tasks in order to work more efficiently. It involves prioritising tasks at work and also maintaining a healthy work-life balance.  

Specific definition of the skill

Organisational skills involve maintaining an orderly workspace, meeting deadlines and communicating well with your team. In order to maintain a high level of organisation in the workplace, make sure that you are setting goals, making lists, planning, prioritising, delegating, documenting, keeping records, and anything else that helps give order to your thought process and work tasks.  

Small businesses need to maximise the time they have available to grow their business so they can prioritise all their work tasks and achieve their goals in a timely manner. Managing your time is important because it helps you conserve energy and stay calm in a fast-paced environment. Time management helps to improve performance, produce better work, deliver work on time, reduce stress and boost confidence.

Motivation

General definition of the skill

Motivation is an internal state that activates, directs and maintains a person’s behaviour towards certain goals or ends; it is the impulse that moves a person to perform certain actions and to persist in them until their completion. Motivation is what gives energy and direction to behaviour; it is the cause of behaviour. Motivation is a process that goes through several stages. Initially, a person anticipates that he/she will feel good (or stop feeling bad) if he/she achieves a goal. Next, he/she actively starts doing things to achieve that goal. As they move towards the goal, they will evaluate whether they are on the right track or not, i.e. he/she will give performance feedback. Lastly, they get to enjoy the fruit of their labour.  

Specific definition of the skill

Employee motivation includes all actions that the company takes to positively influence their performance. The best possible result is to achieve a constant state of productivity as well as employees’ involvement in the company’s goals. As a result, this means that employees feel comfortable in their workspace. Motivated employees who feel connected to the company show higher performance, are more innovative, and are better able to withstand stress.

Empathy

General definition of the skill

Empathy is a key competence of emotional intelligence that is manifested when communicating and relating to others. Empathy is the intention to understand feelings and emotions, trying to experience objectively and rationally what another individual is feeling. 

Specific definition of the skill

Empathy, or rather the lack of it, can interfere with working relationships, so knowing how to handle it is very important in the corporate environment. Empathy allows for the development of stronger ties in the company. Demonstrating empathy will positively impact your relationship with employees and collaborators, as it significantly improves communication and interpersonal relationships. Empathy leads to a greater sense of comfort at work, as relationships become much more fluid, resulting in higher productivity and a better working environment. When you make an effort to understand your fellow human beings and put yourself in their shoes, reaching agreements becomes a much easier task.

Active Listening

General definition of the skill

Active Listening is the capacity of a receiver to pay effective attention to the full set of additional elements conveyed by the sender during an oral communication in order to optimise the communication process.  

Specific definition of the skill

Active Listening is the capacity of effectively listening a message, moving beyond simply hearing it. It is embedded within the larger context of the oral message being conveyed; when acting as an active listener, the receiver will notice the sender’s body language and emotions, show genuine interest in the message, avoid judgements and distractions, provide relevant and constructive feedback, pose emphatic questions in order to clarify ongoing doubts or possible misunderstandings, and generate opportunities for synthesis (i.e. asking for the sender’s confirmation and ensuring that the correct message is effectively conveyed in all its entirety). Active listening is of paramount importance for a fluid HR management team and, ultimately, for the success of an SME.

Commitment

General definition of the skill

Commitment is the capacity to genuinely engage with a given idea, subject, task or performance and working toward the best possible result. A committed person is someone that makes every possible effort to achieve their goals.  

Specific definition of the skill

Commitment is a soft skill supported by responsibility, dedication and perseverance. A committed person is someone that upholds their assumed responsibilities, effectively keeps his/her dedication to a given cause, subject or task, and does not give up easily in the face of adversity. In this sense, commitment is also linked with problem solving, a skill that is also required for achieving goals. Since outcomes achieved through commitment will always be better than those achieved without commitment, even if there remains room for improvement, this soft skill represents a component of major importance for HR management and is a condition for the success of SMEs.