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Ultimate Guide To Leadership Assessment

Kate Williams

Last Updated:  

3 April 2021

9 min read

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” 

– Henry Ford, the man who revolutionized the automobile industry with the assembly line model for manufacturing cars. 

He was one of the greatest business leaders that the world ever saw. Controversial as the above statement might have been, it gives you an idea about his thinking and vision. The ability to believe in one’s self when the prevailing wisdom would say otherwise- that’s what makes a leader.

Leaders are of different kinds. Some of them are mavericks who speak their minds, while some are reticent and let their work do all the talking. 

Having a talented leader in your fold can change the way your company is perceived, and their performance will obviously affect your bottom line as well. They are integral for your culture, how your employees feel about the workplace, decision making, recruiting, etc. 

What is leadership?

Leadership is all about driving your team to achieve a shared goal or a vision. It could be building a company that serves 100 million customers or finding life on Mars. The end goal could be anything. Effective leadership will inspire people and make them do things they might have never imagined being capable of earlier. 

There are a variety of ways in which leadership assessment happens. The impact that a leader is able to create within the company and with their shareholders is probably the first and foremost thing that comes to mind when you think about leadership assessment. After all, leadership is all about uniting people together to improve the status quo, create a strategy for the future, and motivate people to achieve that. 

How is leadership important in business?

For a business to grow, its leadership is one of the most important management functions. Leadership assessment tests are a thing because everyone knows that a leader dictates what works for an organization. If the leader’s calculations go wrong, it can affect so many stakeholders, the number could be even millions at times, depending on the size of the organization. 

Here are a few reasons why leadership is important in business:

  • Leaders not only give direction to their people, but they also set goals, nurture them and guide their team to achieve personal and professional growth
  • It increases confidence among people and helps in reducing employee turnover
  • Leadership is responsible for growth and productivity inside the organization
  • It motivates employees to take action so that the shared vision can be fulfilled
  • They help create more leaders

There are many more reasons why leadership is important and the reason behind leadership assessment being so pivotal for an organization.

What is a leadership assessment?

It is the process where a business identifies if the individual has characteristics that will make it possible for them to fit into the position’s requirements with ease. The leadership assessment test provides the organization with information that will help in identifying a leader for themselves. The main aim of this test is for organizations to make the most from its leaders who can bring results. 

How to conduct a successful leadership assessment test?

Choosing the right leader for your business can make all the difference. It will affect every single area of your business and can either be the reason a company goes belly up or is flush with cash. Here is how a business can conduct a successful leadership assessment test:

#1 Be clear about the role:

For the leadership assessment to go perfectly well, the assessors need to know everything possible about the role. Starting from the objectives of the new leader to how their ability will affect in each department, clarity should be there. 

Some of the things they should have clarity on are:

  1. The goals of the leader and what is expected of them
  2. The activities that they are supposed to undertake
  3. The business culture in which they are supposed to operate
  4. The main things that they need to take care of as soon as they take up the responsibility
  5. Their previous accomplishments and failures
  6. Their strengths and weaknesses 
  7. Along with other aspects that are bound to affect the business, positively or negatively

#2 Understand the personality of the leader:

In the leadership assessment test, you need to figure out if the person being tested is a good fit for the company. How do you do that? By understanding the personality traits of the person in question. Knowing more about their motivations and how they will behave in certain situations will help you properly understand them. There are many personality tests that can be used for leadership assessment. 

#3 Understanding their mindset:

Leadership is all about having the right mindset. A great leader will be able to communicate properly, negotiate with ease, is skilled at certain things and can even change the opinions of others to the company’s liking without making them feel small. 

During leadership assessment, you need to have clear answers for the following:

  1. Can this person be empathetic towards all stakeholders?
  2. Do they have the right communication skills?
  3. Can they work under stress?
  4. Will they be able to think critically?
  5. Will they be able to take constructive feedback?
  6. Can they handle fear and anxiety?

#4 Provide proper feedback:

Once the leadership assessment is over, it is important that you provide them with your feedback. While providing feedback, it is imperative that the assessor be honest, transparent and clear when it comes to sharing details about what they think about the candidate. Both the parties should have learned something from experience. 

If they are not a fit, the assessor should explain what personality trait or leadership trait will be a problem for their organization. There is nothing wrong with not being a fit for a company, and the same should be communicated with respect. The assessor should provide evidence to support the observations that they make. 

Top leadership assessment tools

#1 Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI):

One of the most popular personality tests, it is a good place to start your leadership assessment test. According to this, there are 16 different personality traits that are built on four principal psychological functions: sensation, intuition, feeling and thinking, one of which is considered dominant by MBTI. It is best to get the tests done by a certified counselor or therapist to get the optimum results. 

#2 360-degree feedback tool:

The 360-degree feedback tool is one of the most popular tools out there to understand how people from different positions in the company think of you. It is known to provide an assessment of areas that are usually considered blind spots. It is multi-rater feedback in which the individual is given feedback by multiple people, starting from peers, managers, bosses, subordinates, etc. 

Usually, the 360-degree feedback tool is anonymous to allow the respondent to be as transparent as possible. This is why it is an important leadership assessment tool as it is reliable and it is possible to assess the existing leadership skills of the person. 

This leadership assessment tool helps evaluate critical skills and insists on personality development as a major factor in its benchmarking.

To create 360 degree feedback surveys, you can create a FREE account on SurveySparrow..

#3 Behavioral Assessment:

This type of leadership assessment test measures the behavioral competencies of the individual in simulated work environments. What does it entail? It makes the individual demonstrate their behavioral capabilities in activities that will be related to their jobs. 

The candidate is presented with a plethora of work-related scenarios, and they should come up with solutions or actions that they will take. If not, they will be given a bunch of possible solutions, and they should choose the one that they think will be most effective and provide reasons for the same. Behavioral assessment tools are great for leadership assessment and have scientific validity, and are reliable. 

#4 Assessment and Development Center (ADC): 

ADCs are used around the world by organization for leadership assessment and are designed to fulfil organizational leadership assessment goals. 

1. Virtual Assessment and Development Center (VADC):

These VADCs help organizations unearth efficient future leaders amid the digital transformation. It uses leadership assessment tools such as situational judgement questions, case study simulators, inbox exercises, etc., to get a detailed understanding of the leader’s role by marking them on required competencies. 

Since VADCs capture behavior in simulated environments, they result in increased predictability and reliability. 

2. Blended Assessment Center (BACs):

The blended method uses both physical and online tools to make leadership assessment possible. In a BAC, competencies are mapped using online tools with life-like simulations, while others are assessed on physical methods. This is considered a highly efficient leadership assessment method, and its training effectiveness is also high. 

#5 Harvard’s Implicit Association Test (IAT):

Harvard University says that IAT measures attitudes and beliefs that people may be unwilling to report. The leadership assessment test is designed in such a way that it will reveal attitudes or assumptions that one makes on a daily basis. The test is considered effective and up to date because they keep updating it with the times. 

The IAT leadership assessment involves categorizing pictures and phrases by associating them with the words good or bad as quickly as one can. After the end of the survey, it will approximate your attitudes and assumptions. There are 14 different categories of the IAT: Gender-Science, Skin-tone, Native, Gender-Career, Weapons, Weight, Race, Presidents, Arab-Muslim, Age, Religion, Disability, Sexuality, and Asian. 

#6 The IHHP Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Assessment:

In collaboration with Harvard Business School, The Institute for Health and Human Potential (IHHP) says that the emotional quotient is twice as important as the intelligence quotient. It says that a high EQ is an indication that someone has the necessary leadership skills to be successful as they can control their emotions and work well under significant pressure. 

This is how IHHP defines EQ- “It means the ability to “recognize, understand, and manage our own emotions,” as well as “recognize, understand, and influence the emotions of others.”

When you are a leader, it is important that you keep emotions under check, otherwise, you end up making wrong decisions. The problem with a leader taking a wrong decision is that it will end up affecting a lot of people. IHHP’s Emotional Intelligence Assessment test helps understand where a candidate’s emotional weakness exists and how it will show how someone will behave when they are handling pressure, criticism, and failure. 

#7 USC’s Leadership Style Self-Assessment:

A trait that can affect many leaders because of their self-belief and overall success until then is having an inaccurate perception of themselves. If a leader’s belief of themselves is not the reality, then it will result in a lot of issues and will affect the employees in the organization negatively. 

Understanding your personal leadership is one way to own up to who you are and become a better leader who can provide splendid results. 

#8 Princeton MCG Leadership Blind Spot Assessment:

This leadership assessment is actually one where the candidate has to assess themselves. It is a comprehensive survey that helps identify a leader’s level of understanding within their business. The goal of this assessment is to help leaders achieve short-term objectives as well as build competencies for the long term. 

The leadership blind spot assessment test identifies blind spots across four categories:

  1. Blind Spots About Yourself
  2. Blind Spots About Your Team
  3. Blind Spots About Your Company
  4. Blind Spots About Your Markets

Each of these four categories includes ten questions which have a rating score of 1-5, one being the lowest possibility of oversight and five being the highest. Add the score at the end of the leadership assessment exercise. If your score is low, it means that you are less likely to have blind spots. 

If the person in question has been in a leadership position for a long time, the results from this test will be mind-blowing and provide them with a deeper understanding of who they are and how they work. They will also be able to recognize why certain things did not work the way they intended to because of some decisions that they took. 

#9 Saville Assessment:

For identifying an individual’s aptitude and personal skills, this is one of the best tests out there. Saville Assessment works with organizations to help them select and develop individuals and teams. Saville’s aptitude test contains a set of questions that assesses the individual’s linguistic, mechanical, spatial, numerical and error correction skills. 

Its personal skills identify the behavioral and personal preferences, which tells a lot about the person’s strengths and weaknesses. This leadership assessment test also reveals if the person in question will be a good fitment for the company. The results of Saville Assessment are given on a number scale which broaches about the abilities of the person and also shows areas where they can improve. 

#10 Clifton Strengths:

This web-based leadership assessment tool helps the person understand what they do best naturally and how they can develop their strongest talents. It will also tell the person what they can do to optimize their professional life with the help of their strong areas. 

It starts with an hour-long assessment which has 177 paired questions where you choose the one that best describes you. The answers to these will determine your behavior pattern, thoughts and feelings that you possess, and so on. It will tell you what your greatest talents are and how you can identify opportunities that best match with these abilities. 

How to build a leadership assessment questionnaire?

While there are many tools available online, if you can come up with your own questions, you will be able to adapt them for your company and its specific leadership objectives. 

Here is how you can create a leadership assessment questionnaire:

#1 Be clear about what you want: You need to be clear about what you want to get from your leadership assessment and how you want to assess a leader. To get the best results from your leadership assessment tests, you need to make it as narrow as possible so that it is in close alignment with your specific goals.

#2 Be flexible with the questions: You cannot have the same types of questions for different kinds of people or those who have a variety of responsibilities. The assessment should have questions added from various stakeholders so that you get multiple perspectives. 

#3 Allow open-ended questions: While providing people with a variety of choices makes the leadership assessment get over fast, you also need to give them open-ended questions, which will give you a peek into who they are as a person. It will allow them to express themselves freely.

Do remember that a leadership assessment test is not only arrived at with the help of certain numbers after running them through a series of arbitrary tests, but there is more to finding a leader. You might not be able to fully solve the puzzle of finding the right leader, but the above tests will certainly help you get closer to the kind of leader you want for your organization. 

Wrapping it up..

There are no hard and fast rules that can be applied to leadership assessment situations, but if you follow some of the steps above or use the tools listed, you will be in a great position to assess correctly. A leader requires many different skills to be successful; many of them might not appear on the surface while doing interviews, which is exactly why you need to leverage leadership assessment tests. 

If you are looking to power your leadership assessment test with the help of online surveys, the folks at SurveySparrow will be delighted to help you out. Surveys are a great way to disseminate questions for leadership assessment, and it offers convenience and speed like no other. Talk to our team to understand how SurveySparrow’s online survey tool will help you with your leadership assessment test.

Kate Williams

Product Marketing Manager at SurveySparrow

Excels in empowering visionary companies through storytelling and strategic go-to-market planning. With extensive experience in product marketing and customer experience management, she is an accomplished author, podcast host, and mentor, sharing her expertise across diverse platforms and audiences.

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