Success of Employees

19 Nov 2012

A theory on managerial success: managers need “soft skills” too

Research has shown that while intelligence in its traditional form, including tasks assessing verbal, numerical, visuo-spatial, reasoning and working memory, is the best predictor of job performance, other skills are also important for managerial success.

Sternberg’s (1996; 1997) triarchic theory of intelligence proposes that intelligence is comprised of traditional analytic skills, practical skills and creativity. He advises that managers need all these components of intelligence in order to be successful. Practical skills are those used in the workplace to guide interactions, help solve problems and knowing how to act in certain situations. They are usually acquired without the direct help of other people. Creativity in the workplace is about seeing old problems and situations in new ways, or the catchphrase of the early 2000’s: thinking outside the box.

RightPeople has tests that can assess all these aspects of intelligence and other ‘soft skills’ including work values and personality tests. In the realm of ‘traditional intelligence’, we have tasks assessing learning potential, working memory, speed of information processing and general reasoning/ problem-solving ability.

In the realm of practical and creative skills, we have:

Work Health & Safety Attitudes and Behaviour surveys

Integrity & Reliability Protocols

Time Management Inventories

And a wide range of Skills Tests

We also developed a tool that is specifically designed to reveal management potential: the Multi-Tasks test, which assesses higher-level problem solving ability by testing the ability of candidates to solve two problems simultaneously. We have devoted much research attention to developing and testing this unique predictor of management performance.

Contact us to find out more about any of these products.


Sternberg, R.J. (1996). Successful intelligence: how practical and creative intelligence determine success in life. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Sternberg, R.J. (1997). Managerial intelligence: why IQ isn’t enough. Journal of Management, 23(3), 475-493.