Assess Your Leadership Qualities
A leadership assessment lays the groundwork for determining what leadership qualities you demonstrate most effectively now, and what you need to work on, or compensate for, as your leadership evolves.
All improvement plans, be it remodeling your home, your garden, or enhancing your professional skills, begin with a vision of the desired future, an assessment of where you are now in relation to that future, and an identification of the gaps between the two.
If you’re working with a coach, the assessment of your leadership qualities should take place early on. Your results will play a significant role in determining where you focus your development efforts.
What Type of Assessments Do You Need?
Given the variety of standardized leadership assessment surveys, how do you choose which one(s) suit you best? And how to you set your vision for which leadership qualities are most important for you to be an effective leader, while remaining authentically you?
I recently participated on a panel of expert coaches, supervisors in Mass School of Professional Psychology’s coach certification program, where we answered these questions. All three panelists recommended two types of assessments.
1. A personality assessment, such as the Myers Briggs or Hogan Personality Inventory, highlights relatively stable characteristics. You’ll learn more about how you perceive the world around you, how you interact with others, how you think, process emotions and make decisions. This helps with the “authentically you” part of your vision.
2. The second type of leadership assessment highlights leadership qualities and skills associated with excellent leaders, which should inform your vision of the leader you want to be. This type of assessment is referred to as a 360, because your manager, your peers and direct reports anonymously answer questions about you.
Your results point to which leadership qualities are among your strengths and which ones aren’t.
Tips for Choosing Your Assessment Tools
It’s important to select the right 360 for you and your organization. These tips will help:
1. Choose an assessment that reflects what outstanding leaders do.
The assessment should also address what successful leaders in your company do. Find out if there’s a company-wide, or local, leadership competency model and make sure the assessment you choose, includes most, or all, of the identified competencies.
Some companies have a preferred, or customized leadership assessment tool developed specifically for them. The assessment focuses on leadership qualities that are highly valued within your company. Use that assessment if your goal is to be, and to be perceived as, an excellent leader within your organization.
2. Make sure the assessment is sound, valid, reliable, and research based.
If you’re starting from scratch with no company recommended tool, look for research results that prove the competencies being assessed are associated with effective leadership.
The Emotional and Social Competence Inventory is an excellent example of a well-researched tool. The ESCI is based on many years of research with hundreds of thousands of leaders around the world from different industries. The research differentiates what outstanding leaders do differently to achieve multi-year track records of best in class business results and employee satisfaction scores. When you review your ESCI results, you know you’re viewing yourself in light of what best-in-world leaders actually do that makes a difference.