The Leadership Colour Wheel: Check your leadership skills!

Article by Ken Thompson, last updated May 2022

The Leadership Colour Wheel (summarised in the diagram below) is a simple but powerful tool we have developed over a number of years.

The Wheel identifies and succinctly defines the 12 key leadership skills customers ask for most when requesting business simulations to support leadership and management development programmes. 

Leadership Colour WheelFigure - The Leadership Colour Wheel

The 12 key leadership skills on the wheel address 4 high-level leadership skill areas (useful mnemonic "BEST"):

B – Business Acumen / Strategy Skills

E – Execution Skills

S – Stakeholder / Change Skills

T – Team Skills

Each of these 4 skills areas is then broken down into 3 specific skills – making 12 key skills in total. 

Each of these 12 skills can be broken down further into key topics (36 in total), for example, below is the break-down of the 3 key skills in the Business section of the colour wheel.

(A copy of the full skills breakdown on the wheel is available on request)

Leadership Colour Wheel Business SectionFigure – Leadership Colour Wheel - Business Skills Expanded

Using the Leadership Colour Wheel

In summary, the wheel is a pragmatic demand-based perspective of the skills needed to be successful as a leader.

It can also be argued that to be a well-rounded leader you need to address all 4 skill areas of the wheel – Business, Execution, Stakeholders and Teams.

The leadership colour wheel can help you plan leadership development programmes by making it easy to identify the most important skills so you can assess leadership communities, groups and even individuals and set priorities.

The wheel can also help you to evaluate supporting tools such as curricula, publications, scenarios/cases and, of course, business simulations.

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More about Ken Thompson

Ken Thompson

Ken is a practitioner, author and speaker on Leadership, Collaborative Working, High Performing Teams, Change Management, Project Management and Business Acumen. His work has featured in major publications including The Guardian , Wired Magazine, The Huffington Post and The Henry Ford Magazine. Ken has also spoken at many international events including TEDx, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), Learn Tech (London) and NASA.

Ken is Founder of Business Simulations Ltd.

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