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Leaders aren’t born, they're made. And often, they're promoted from within.

Organizations that want to ensure their leaders are both impactful and successful conduct periodic leadership assessments on new and existing leaders.

The best leadership assessment tools detailed within are designed to identify what each leader’s strengths and weaknesses are so that they can be offered appropriate feedback and supports to help them grow and succeed.

What are Leadership Assessments?

Leadership assessments are tools or methodologies used to evaluate the skills, abilities, and potential of current and aspiring leaders within an organization.

These assessments can range from personality tests and 360-degree feedback to scenario-based evaluations and skill inventories. They are designed to gauge various aspects of leadership abilities, such as decision-making, emotional intelligence, strategic thinking, and team management.

The insights gained from these assessments help organizations in identifying leadership potential, guiding development programs, and making informed decisions about succession planning.

Why are Leadership Assessments So Important?

Leadership assessments are crucial tools in the realm of organizational development, offering insights that can significantly enhance leadership effectiveness and organizational performance.

By evaluating various aspects of an individual's leadership style and capabilities, these assessments yield numerous benefits. Here are some key advantages:

  1. Identify Leadership Potential: This is especially useful for succession planning and grooming future leaders within the organization.
  2. Aid Personal Development: Provide leaders with self-awareness about their strengths and areas for improvement, guiding their personal development and helping them become more effective in their roles.
  3. Enhance Team Dynamics: Leaders can adjust their approach for more effective communication and collaboration, tailoring their style to suit their team's needs.
  4. Drive Organizational Growth: Assessments can directly contribute to enhanced decision-making, strategic planning, and overall organizational growth.
  5. Facilitate Effective Training Programs: Design targeted training and development programs, ensuring that they are focused and relevant to the needs of the leaders.

20 Types of Leadership Assessment

There are a lot of different ways to assess leaders, but we've tried to narrow the list down to 20 that should serve just about any need that you have. We provide a brief description and summary of their purpose.

1. 360-Degree Feedback

More than 85% of Fortune 500 companies use 360 degree feedback. It's a tried and true method of assessing people's behaviors and the impression they make on others.

  • Description: Involves collecting feedback about a leader from their subordinates, peers, and supervisors.
  • Purpose: Provides a comprehensive view of a leader's performance and behavior.

2. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)

  • Description: Assesses personality type and how it influences leadership style.
  • Purpose: Helps leaders understand their strengths and weaknesses in team dynamics.

"The first time I did Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a colleague said 'this is so you', and then she proceeded to give me examples, some of which were affirming and showed how my (personality) type helped me. Then there were some examples about how it got in my way. So I think it's a great process. I think leaders learn more about themselves by first getting some kind of a assessment completed that has this information."

Thomas giles, Founder and Managing Director at TG Consultancy

3. DISC Assessment

  • Description: Evaluates behavioral traits and communication styles of leaders.
  • Purpose: Aids in understanding how these traits impact team interaction and performance.
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4. Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Assessment

  • Description: Measures a leader's emotional intelligence, including self-awareness, empathy, and social skills.
  • Purpose: Highlights the importance of emotional intelligence in effective leadership.

5. StrengthsFinder Assessment

  • Description: Identifies someone's top leadership strengths to leverage in their role.
  • Purpose: Encourages leaders to focus on strengths rather than weaknesses.

6. Leadership Practices Inventory (LPI)

  • Description: Assesses behaviors and skills that are critical to leadership effectiveness.
  • Purpose: Helps leaders understand and develop their leadership practices.

7. Hogan Leadership Forecast Series

  • Description: Predicts leadership potential, challenges, and core drivers.
  • Purpose: Assists organizations in identifying potential leaders and their development needs.

8. Belbin Team Roles

  • Description: Identifies a person's preferred team role and how it fits within a team.
  • Purpose: Enhances team composition and effectiveness by understanding various roles.

9. Leadership Competency Assessment

  • Description: Evaluates specific competencies essential for effective leadership.
  • Purpose: Focuses on developing targeted skills for leadership roles.

10. FIRO-B Assessment

  • Description: Measures interpersonal needs and how they affect leadership style.
  • Purpose: Aids in understanding how leaders form relationships with team members.

11. Situational Leadership Assessment

  • Description: Evaluates a leader's ability to adjust their style to the situation and team needs.
  • Purpose: Enhances adaptability and responsiveness in leadership.

12. Leadership Versatility Index (LVI)

Since 2013, more than 24,000 senior managers have been assessed using this tool.

  • Description: Assesses the balance between forceful and enabling leadership behaviors.
  • Purpose: Helps leaders maintain an effective balance in their leadership style.

13. Leadership Effectiveness Analysis (LEA)

  • Description: Measures 22 leadership behaviors to identify areas of strength and improvement.
  • Purpose: Provides a detailed analysis of a leader's effectiveness.

14. Servant Leadership Assessment

  • Description: Focuses on the leader's ability to serve their team and prioritize their needs.
  • Purpose: Promotes a leadership style that fosters a supportive and collaborative environment.

15. Transformational Leadership Assessment

  • Description: Measures the ability to inspire and motivate team members towards a shared vision.
  • Purpose: Identifies leaders who can drive change and innovation.

16. Authentic Leadership Self-Assessment

  • Description: Evaluates the authenticity and ethical perspective of a leader.
  • Purpose: Ensures leaders are genuine, transparent, and ethical in their approach.

17. Leadership Style Assessment

  • Description: Identifies a leader's dominant style, such as democratic, autocratic, or laissez-faire.
  • Purpose: Helps leaders understand their natural style and how to adapt it if necessary.

18. Executive Presence Assessment

  • Description: Measures a leader's presence, influence, and ability to inspire confidence.
  • Purpose: Identifies areas to improve in terms of communication and charisma.

19. Conflict Resolution Style Inventory

  • Description: Assesses how a leader handles conflict and resolution strategies.
  • Purpose: Enhances conflict management skills critical for leadership.

20. Cultural Intelligence (CQ) Assessment

  • Description: Evaluates a leader's ability to work effectively across different cultures.
  • Purpose: Critical for leaders in global or diverse organizations.

An Example of Leadership Assessment

Our HTI Leadership Assessment interviews the leader’s direct reports and manager to identify how the leader’s current behaviors need to be adjusted in terms of either starting, stopping, or continuing. 

Typically, we look at the following leadership skills and leadership qualities:

Values:

  • Articulate and model their own and their company’s core values 
  • Model integrity and respect
  • Adjust behavior when out of alignment.

Navigate:

  • Navigate conflict to create positive outcomes
  • Navigate obstacles and deliver results
  • Navigate under pressure/stress.

Full responsibility:

  • Take responsibility for their current situation and relationships and course-correct (if necessary)
  • The high degree of self-awareness and situational awareness
  • Allocate resources effectively 
  • Identify where support is needed and request or provide it (by self or other).

Relationships:

  • Provide and receive meaningful and effective feedback 
  • Coach/mentor and develop others
  • Create strong networks and relationships with others.

Communication:

  • Communicate a shared vision
  • Create a culture of trust (among team members and within the organization)
  • Champion change 
  • Exhibit expertise
  • Actively listen 
  • Ask for help and expertise.

Creative and resourceful:

  • Be transparent
  • Be curious
  • Exhibit a growth mindset
  • Be adaptable and agile
  • Accept the current reality
  • Display grit, tolerance, and patience.

Impact and results:

  • Create alignment and buy-in from team members and stakeholders to achieve specific goals
  • Plan, set, and deliver attainable and measurable goals (strategic management)
  • Create a high performing team and culture.

Leadership Assessment Is Not A One-Time Deal

This process is iterative. Coaching and mentoring allows the leader to practice their newly acquired skills and abilities on the job while receiving feedback in real-time and through more formal mechanisms at pre-determined points. 

Conducting ongoing assessments provides the leader with a means to evaluate how quickly they're developing and the specific leadership competencies they're acquiring.

Our aim is to help people unlock their leadership potential through the strength of their relationships with those who work most closely with them. 

How To Use A Leadership Assessment

Once the assessors’ results are collated, we have a conversation with the leader to identify which areas were the leader’s blind spots and development areas they feel are best to focus on to net the greatest results. 

Through an ongoing relationship, we then use our HTI Relationship Map and related tools to navigate a development plan that will grow their skills and abilities necessary for success.

Key takeaways

  1. Essential for Identifying Leadership Potential: Leadership assessments help in mapping out succession planning and identify the right individuals for leadership development programs.
  2. Promote Personal Development and Team Dynamics: These assessments provide leaders with crucial insights about their strengths, weaknesses, and overall leadership style.
  3. Drive Organizational Growth and Effective Training: Leadership assessments guide the creation of targeted training and development programs, ensuring these initiatives are relevant and tailored to the leaders' needs.

Actionable Advice

To optimize leadership development, regularly conduct diverse assessments like 360-degree feedback and personality tests, and use the insights to tailor individual development plans, focusing on each leader's unique strengths and areas for improvement.

Additionally, foster a culture of continuous learning by encouraging leaders to engage in ongoing training and professional development opportunities aligned with their assessment outcomes.

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By Tanya Schecter

Tanya Schecter is the co-founder of HTI institute and co-author of Lead from Your Heart: The Art of Relationship-based Leadership. She’s followed her passion for collaborating with others while adopting a heart-centered approach to achieve growth, change, and transformation through authentic leadership and powerful positive relationships for over 25 years and hopes to do so for another 25!