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The Skill Will Matrix is your go-to tool to manage team performance, individual employee performance, and overall employee engagement.

If you are the manager of a business or a project, the productivity, performance, and engagement of the team members will depend mainly on your action. Business administration and management methodologies have many tools and techniques to keep the business running and growing year-over-year (YOY).

One such tool is the Skill Will study. Managers in HR, operations, projects, etc., use this tool to personalize their interaction with employees or team members.

We introduce you to the tool from the ground up so that you can grow your own wisdom around the concept and apply it appropriately in your workspace. Additionally, when you learn the Skill Will chart in detail, you acquire one of many skills that make you a successful business leader.       

What Is Skill Will Matrix?

The business leadership or managers use the Skill Will study tool to evaluate their staff’s performance based on the followings: 

  • Employee competencies or skills
  • Staff’s motivation to work or willpower

The matrix or diagram is similar to a 2X2 quadrant. To understand it easily, consider this matrix as a graph or chart. You need to place skill along the X-axis and will on the Y-axis. The left half of the X-axis will be Low Skill, and the right half of the same axis is for High Skill individuals.

Similarly, you need to put the will on the vertical axis or the Y-axis. The lower half of the Y-axis is for Low Will, and the upper half of the vertical axis is for High Will employees. Now, if you draw a quadrant on this graph, you will get 4 blocks of space. Each space has different levels of Skill and Will; thus, you evaluate an individual’s fitness for a particular project.

Individuals falling in different spaces of these 4 blocks must be treated in 4 distinctive ways to get the most out of your workforce. Or else, you need to lay off existing staff and hire highly-skilled and willing staff. To hire such a superior workforce, you will still require this Skill Will analysis tool to verify newly hired employees’ competencies and willpower.        

How Did Skill Will Matrix Come Into Existence?

Ken Blanchard and Paul Hersey created a situational leadership model based on the developmental level of followers and leadership in 1970. The model consists of a quadrant of 2X2 matrix for 4 kinds of leaders: Telling, Selling, Participating, and Deligating. 

For the followers/employees, the 4 types are High Competence with High Commitment, High Competence with Variable Commitment, Some Competence with Low Commitment, and Low Competence with High Commitment.

The quadrant for followers is the precursor to the present-day Skill Will chart. However, it has become a popular management technique after the publication of The Tao of Coaching by Max Landsberg in 1996.       

Significance of Skill and Will in Skill Will Matrix

To create an insightful Skill and Will Matrix, first, you need to understand the definition of Skill and Will in this matrix. Here is what you need to know: 


Skills are the creative and technical abilities that employees bring to the table. Skills like computation, database creation, file management, surveying, data collection, website development, app development, sales, marketing, etc., help you to run a business.

Employees acquire skills through continuous learning, training, exposure to new concepts, and mainly from their respective duties in the workplace. Based on skills, you can classify employees into expert, advanced, intermediate, and beginner levels.    


The will of an individual tells you how motivated the person is. The will could be anything of the followings: 

  • Motivated to complete a task by the due date.
  • Willing to learn a new business tool, craftsmanship, creative skill, business concept, etc.
  • Motivated to grow career beyond current levels.
  • Willing to follow the leadership diligently.

The level of education, work experience, and skills heavily influence the willpower of your staff. Thus, managers need to be more delicate when handling less willing employees compared to highly motivated staff.    

The Purpose of Skill Will Matrix

Once you identify different levels of skills and will of employees and classify them, you need to find the management style that suits the four classes of followers/staff. The Skill Will chart helps you to identify these management styles.

#1. Direct

Directing is simply determining what triggers motivation in employees with a matrix value of low skill and low will. Then, you need to apply that stimulus effectively to derive an outcome. Ensure the final result is high quality, useful to the business, measurable, and achieved within the deadline.

#2. Guide

The matrix determines that the staff with low skill and high will value on the quadrant require guidance. Ensure you follow these:

  • Discuss the guide scope and tasks with the beneficiary.
  • Document all coaching sessions or projects.
  • Explain and demonstrate the job workflow
  • Set a quality level

When guiding an employee, follow standard business-level coaching models.

#3. Excite

You also discover team members of high skill and low will. These employees only need a simple nudge and can provide great productivity. All you need to do is show respect to the task and appreciate their input. 

#4. Delegate

There are always a few high-skill and high-will-possessing personnel in your business. Identify them through Skill and Will chart, then delegate your project tasks to them. Set proper quality standards, deadlines, and deliverables before assigning tasks.  

The Quadrants of Skill Will Matrix

Quadrant 1: Low Skill and Low Will

Staff from this quadrant needs maximum attention. You need to train them diligently to develop the skills your project requires. Also, you must motivate them to complete tasks within deadlines and deliver results. 

Quadrant 2: Low Skill and High Will

Employees from this quadrant can demonstrate higher productivity and efficiency if you provide enough guidance and support. Let them undergo training sessions to learn the necessary skills and tactics. Then, involve them in the project with close monitoring. Reduce control when you see progress.  

Quadrant 3: High Skill and Low Will

Staff from this section requires some motivational push. Go for one-on-one meetings to understand the underlying cause of why the employee is not finding enough will to engage with the project actively. Providing feedback, changing the management style, and monitoring their performance, are the best ways of coaching.   

Quadrant 4: High Skill and High Will

Team members of this group are good targets for task delegation. Let them drive results independently while you set the deliverables, deadlines, and quality standards. Often interact with these individuals with praise and celebrate success. You may also involve them in decision-making meetings.

Skill Will Matrix Vs. Competency Matrix

The competency matrix is a database of available skills and required skills that managers make before assigning or hiring employees for a new project. It also consists of separate columns to measure the interest and proficiency level of those project-specific skills.

On the contrary, the Skill Will chart maps high and low skills vs. high and low will on a 2×2 quadrant. Then, you can clearly identify the four types of staff/followers: Delegate, Excite, Guide, and Direct. The final goal is to devise a learning and development plan for employees of the Direct and Guide group.     

Major Applications of Skill Will Matrix

#1. Agile/DevOps Projects

Agile DevOps projects are all about productivity, efficiency, continuous improvement, and timely delivery of products/services. 

Thus, managers can use the Skill/Will chart to locate the best employees who can immediately join the project. Later on, training can be facilitated to make other staff competent and willing to join. 

#2. Joining as a New Manager

This matrix is an excellent tool if you are joining a new team from a different company. By performing the Skill Will analysis, you can instantly find out the scientific way of interacting with your new team. 

#3. Return to Office After the Pandemic

As businesses are returning to normal operations after the COVID-19 pandemic, most organizations will need to perform the Skill Will Matrix study to gauge:

  • Perspective to work
  • Workload handling
  • Discovery of competencies: gained or lot
  • Career goals and objectives
  • Monetary needs

Hence, as a manager, you can quickly assimilate the team into work. 

#4. Merger and Acquisition

When you onboard new team members from a different vertical of the same company, it is good to perform a Skill Will analysis of the new entrants. Then, you can appropriately determine who needs training and who can get started with assignments. 

#5. Organizational or Business Restructure

When a company goes through restructuring, the managers need to align the workforce according to new revenue models, objectives, and growth models. Perform the Skill Will study to move the workforce to a demanding vertical from an obsolete department.   

#6. Tracking Skills

Before the Skill Will analysis, you need to collect employee skills data. It is the opportunity to build a database of skills so that you can easily identify an employee with special skills for the future.

How to Create a Skill Will Matrix

A leadership team or independent manager can create a Skill Will analysis chart. They need preliminary data on the employees or team members. 

Such information helps you determine the Will and Skill levels. To collect this data from the employees, send an online survey form with the following two sets of questionnaires: 

Skill Level Evaluation

  • Educational qualification
  • Years of work experience
  • Strengths and weaknesses
  • Demonstrated business skills
  • Courses and certifications completed
  • Numbers of positive and negative feedback

Will Level Evaluation  

  • Personal and professional goals
  • Proactive or reactive task assignments
  • Job changes and frequency
  • Interaction within the team
  • General attitude
  • Engagements in the workplace

Now, make a matrix of 2×2 boxes. Put names in the quadrants based on the findings. You can also review the Quadrants section above in this article to know how to name the sections. 

However, the best way is to utilize any of the below-mentioned templates:  

Skill Will Matrix Templates


While you need applications like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Visio, and Microsoft Excel to create a skill and will analysis chart, with Creately, you just need one web app. It is the only connected workspace you need to gather, analyze, and plan the skills of your employees in minimum time.

Also, the Creately template is free to use within the trial period of a Creately account. Hence, you can try the template’s efficiency before signing up for a paid plan. Some of the best features of this template are: 

  • Employee data capturing online
  • Collaborative analysis of employee skills
  • Custom databases
  • Integrate with reputed business apps for 
  • Modern shapes, emojis, attachments, comment boxes, and more

Moreover, you can save the work offline as PNG, SVG, PDF, JPEG, and CSV for future reference or printing purposes.     


Scilife is renowned quality control, document management, and workflow creation solutions provider for the health care industry. As a part of its free tools and guides project, it offers a free-to-download template for Skills Matrix. You can use this matrix for the data collection on employee competencies before assigning them projects.

This Microsoft Excel-based skills matrics come with the following features: 

  • Easily identify skill gaps that stop you from succeeding in every business project.
  • Collect and visualize team competencies and compare the data against skill requirements for the upcoming project.
  • Formulate learning and development roadmaps for employees based on their competencies.
  • A bias-less tool that gives you the correct insight into employees’ skill levels.

You can simply download and open the file using your Excel desktop app. Though the template does not offer a 2 by 2 quadrant for the general Skill Will Matrix, you can use it anyway for preliminary data collection.     

Final Words

In a nutshell, the Skill Will Matrix is a standard framework that global businesses accept as an efficient tool to evaluate employee performance, skill levels, learning opportunities, etc. You must utilize this management technique to hire new team members for an upcoming project. Furthermore, you can use it to train the existing workforce to drive productivity and growth.

After going through this ultimate guide, you should be able to improvise your workplace team too. Finally, there are ready-to-use templates that can help you create Skill Will Matrix in no time and use it in the business or project.

You must also read this ultimate guide on milestone charts to appropriately track and manage project progress.

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  • Bipasha Nath
    Bipasha has a decade of experience as a technical and creative writer. Holding degrees in English and Sociology and having worked with software development firms, she possesses a unique perspective on how technology intertwines with our…

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