Soft Leader Skills is Leading Topic at Kravis-de Roulet Conference

It’s that time of the year again and the Kravis Leadership Institute (KLI) is busy putting together its 21st Kravis-de Roulet Conference. This year’s topic: Understanding and Assessing Soft Leader Skills.

Although there is no concrete, universally-accepted definition of “soft skills,” the term is generally applied to the set of personal qualities, habits, attitudes and communication abilities that define the way people conduct themselves in a business atmosphere. And there are many different models that underscore the development of these skills, explore their implications in the business world and ultimately rank their importance.

The conference, which will take place on Saturday, February 25, 2012 at the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum at CMC, will host some of the world’s most renowned researchers in the field to present their models, discuss their theories, and attempt to come up with a universal understanding regarding soft skills.

From California State University, Fullerton, Gerard Beenen, Lori Muse and Shaun Pichler will discuss their “Big Five Managerial Interpersonal Skills” model which emphasizes various management techniques as the basis for good leadership. These techniques include effectively managing one’s self, as well as supporting and motivating others and managing conflict.

From Rutgers University, Cary Cherniss will present several components of the behavioral approach to emotional intelligence and their implications in the context of leadership training, development and education.

Shane Connelly, of the University of Oklahoma, will discuss emotional management by highlighting the importance of emotional intelligence, emotion regulation and emotion expression in the workplace.

Caesar Douglas of Florida State University and Darren Treadway of the University of Buffalo will present their research in the area of trait development theory research that indicates that leadership political skill results in the formation of specific behaviors and relationships, thus ensuring leadership effectiveness.

From West Point Academy, Professor Sean Hannah’s research revolves around the development of an Ethos concept which essentially posits that what a leader knows only goes so far. Hannah will focus on the character of the leader and his or her role in ethical and authentic leadership.

Traveling all the way from the Catholic University of Portugal, Professor Paolo Lopes will introduce the concept of “response flexibility” the way that people adjust their responses to different interpersonal situations at work. According to Dr. Lopes’ research, response flexibility is associated with peer-rated interpersonal adjustment and involves the expression of different emotions in the workplace.

CMC’s own Professor Jay Conger will be the lunch keynote speaker and will address how leaders can deliver more memorable communications by drawing upon advances in the science of memory. His works over the years includes a book on charismatic leadership and award-winning papers that run the gamut from competency models to why leadership development efforts fail.

Past conference themes have included such topics as “Building Leadership in the Corporation Boardroom” to “Rethinking Followership,” and have been well attended by professionals, academics, and CMC faculty and students. To register for the conference go to