If leaders are made, not born, what role might assessments play in leadership development? When it comes to learning, our assessment of ourselves—what we know and don’t know, skills we have and don’t have—can be woefully inaccurate.
Good leadership assessments focus on behaviors known to contribute to highly successful leaders and reveal both strengths and areas for development. Self-awareness is key, and it’s the first step to designing a more focused and effective leadership development program. Good leadership assessments allow us to:
Demonstrate a greater degree of self-awareness
Validate leadership strengths and opportunities for development using a variety of perspectives
Prioritize development opportunities with the best chance of success
Understand how strengths and development opportunities impact performance
Leadership assessments aren’t limited to just individual development. There are also team assessments available that focus on the health and effectiveness of the leadership team. They provide insights into questions such as:
Does our leadership team trust each other?
Do we hold each other accountable?
Can we support each other’s leadership journey?
Are we modeling the team behaviors we want every team in our organization to display?
The support of a group working on development issues together can be very beneficial, and assessments provide a common language for understanding and alignment. They open up areas for exploration, curiosity, and enrichment. They are not predictive of leadership success, but they can contribute significantly to it.
Like the other elements in the Learning Ecosystem, assessments don’t stand on their own. They are one piece of the complete path to growth. To be a great leader, a person often has to use behaviors that don’t come naturally. The information provided through assessments may be utilized by coaches to uncover the source of leadership challenges and create experiential opportunities for leaders to stretch themselves.
And how do we know we are growing, enhancing our effectiveness, becoming better leaders?
360 assessments allow us to measure on-going growth by providing direct feedback from those who lead us, those we lead with, and those whom we lead. Participating in a 360 assessment at the start of the development journey provides a baseline, and then repeat assessments over time allow leaders to see the impact of their development programs.
When it comes to selecting assessments make sure the information provided in the reports is easy to understand and actionable. To get the most value from any assessment, leverage a trained coach or facilitator, who is skilled and knowledgeable with the assessment and with leadership and team development.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sheryl has more than 20 years leadership experience, and over the course of 13 years served in the roles of President, CFO and COO for a start-up software company, helping to grow sales to $20 million, and eventually negotiating its sale on behalf of the company owners.
Sheryl’s passion for business and serving others led her to start a consulting practice where she has worked with numerous organizations, assisting them with strategic planning, implementation and business process review.