Senior managers are required to manage people well, share their experience with others, provide a sense of direction and often liaise with senior people and communities outside the organisation. Spotlight can be used to identify the skills and further training needs of senior managers.

In addition, team leaders and other experienced employees use leadership skills to help others do their job well. Spotlight helps identify the leadership skills that are used both formally and informally, such as:

  • being a reliable source of guidance for others 
  • creating a shared sense of direction
  • being available when problems need to be sorted out
  • helping the work group recover after something has gone wrong.
  • assisting with continuous improvement
  • setting the scene for reflection about workplace practice
  • showing expertise, good judgement, ethical behaviour and stability
  • helping others do their best work
  • being inclusive
  • inspiring trust in an emergency.

The Spotlight leadership skills identified below are all at level 5. They build on the other 4 skill levels, and tend to be based on many years’ experience. These Spotlight leadership skills are vital to the creation and maintenance of good workplace systems, policies and working relations and staff morale.  They are also vital to the effectiveness of the organisation and its reputation.

In updating a job description you may also wish to draw upon terms from the Thesaurus of terms for writing further activity descriptors.


Contribution of Spotlight skills to identifying sources of leadership

Leadership factor

Spotlight skill element

Level 5 – embedding solutions/ expertise in systems

A. Shaping awareness – capacity to develop, focus and shape your own and other participants’ awareness


Understand systems and opportunities to influence them

A1. Sensing contexts or situations

Uses understanding of organisational priorities to influence systems and policies. 

Develops a system of regular information exchange on developments inside and outside the organisation.

Brings together people with theoretical knowledge and practical experience to think about an issue in a new way.

A2. Monitoring and guiding reactions


Foresees potential sources of resistance to a policy proposal and finds ways of addressing them in advance.

Knows when to persevere and when to let go of a hoped-for system change.

Monitors community perceptions of an initiative in order to clear up misinterpretations.

A3. Judging impacts

Sets up processes for drawing together feedback from a wide range of sources in order to assess wider and longer term impacts.

Perceives flow-on impacts of decisions on other parts of the organisation.

Develops a system for analysing and addressing longer-term impacts of the organisation.

B. Interacting and relating – capacity to negotiate interpersonal, organisational and intercultural relationships


Help build ongoing relations in diverse communities

B1. Negotiating boundaries

Gains support for a change proposal by planting the idea in stages or testing the water with key people.

Uses networks to build support for an initiative.

Builds a coalition to carry an idea forward.

Provides a sense of direction that energises others.

B2. Communicating verbally/non-verbally

Crystallises the views of a diverse audience.

Produces effective communications or publications adapted to a range of audiences.

Helps ensure that the organisation communicates an ethical message.

C. Coordinating – capacity to organise your own work, link it into to the overall workflow and deal with disruptions


Contribute to changing, maintaining and stabilising work systems

C1.  Sequencing/ combining activities

Maintains a range of initiatives at various stages of completion, switching attention among them.

Maps long-term goals to help in aligning them with organisational realities.

C2. Interweaving activities with others’

Creates systems for sharing innovations or solutions to ongoing problems.

Develops network for accessing, tracking, sharing and building on solutions.

Fosters a long-term perspective through a system for maintaining key records.

C3. Maintaining/

restoring workflow

Researches causes of bottlenecks and sets up systems for resolving them.

Anticipates where systems may come under pressure and ensure backup systems are in place.

Works to maintain continuity and stability as well as responsiveness to change, projecting a consistent message.

Monitors work unit’s responses to frustrations and setbacks, and leads in regrouping.