As you grow in your career, you’ll inevitably gain more and more responsibilities and, in some for another, ultimately be asked to lead others. Or, perhaps you’re a natural leader who, whether or not you have the title to back it up, have always been the go-to person for others at work and in life.
Whether you’re just embarking on your path as a leader, are finding your footing or are already at the helm of the ship, a leadership assessment can help you know what qualities you possess already and which ones you can enhance further will help you and your team grow.
Why should you take a leadership assessment?
Are leaders born or made? That’s a question that’s sparked a lot of debate over time. But no matter what the answer, there’s little doubt that leaders can grow into their roles over time.
A leadership assessment is not meant to point out someone’s flaws or weaknesses as a leader. Nor is it meant to definitively tell someone she would make a good or bad leader. Instead, it serves as a self-reflection tool. If you’re moving into a leadership role, these questions will help you consider what kinds of issues you should take into account and how to prepare yourself for the career ahead — because it will be a challenging one.
If you’re already a leader, it can help you assess how you’re handling your current position and how you might approach things differently or consider alternative perspectives and angles. After all, it’s important to view your strengths and weaknesses objectively — and a leadership assessment can help you do that, as well as give you insight into areas to hone further.
Leadership assessment: 12 questions to ask yourself
1. True or false: I’m comfortable delegating responsibilities, and I trust my employees to handle these tasks without my involvement.
2. True or false: I’m truly invested in my employees’ career growth and have shown that I’m committed in concrete ways.
3. What’s a risk you’ve taken in the workplace, and how has it impacted the company?
4. Do you consider yourself an innovator? What’s an innovation you’ve spearheaded at work?
5. True or false: Others would describe me as empathetic and a good listener.
6. How would you describe your style of leadership? (e.g. transformational, charismatic, authoritative, etc.)
7. Does your company’s mission align with your own?
8. Being honest, do you love your job?
9. True or false: I’m more of a bystander when it comes to conflicts at work.
10. On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate your confidence?
11. Do you have a strong, established network of contacts? Are you constantly networking to build it further?
12. Do people come to you for advice?
Again, there are no “right” answers to the above questions. However, these are some factors you should take into account if you’re in or beginning a leadership position.
Delegation is an important part of leadership. You need to be comfortable not just doing everything yourself. Moreover, you simply can’t — you have too many responsibilities on your plate as it is. Delegation shows confidence in your own leadership, as well as confidence and investment in your team since you’re recognizing that they’re capable and trustworthy to handle the tasks and build new skills.
Leading doesn’t just mean tackling the current issues your company is facing. It also means preparing the next generation of leaders to take your place. Investing in your employees’ career growth demonstrates that you aren’t making this personal — you care about the company and industry, and it’s important to you that you will be leaving it in good hands when the time comes.
Moreover, your employees should be able to trust you and believe that you care about their success. After all, leadership doesn’t occur in a vacuum: you’re leading real people.
3. Open-ended (you should be able to name one).
Risk-taking is an essential part of leadership. Without risk, there is no reward. Businesses need leaders who are willing and able to take calculated risks to move the company forward.
Like risk-taking, innovation is a key part of advancing the company. You should have plenty of ideas rather than relying on existing models that, in today’s world, could quickly become outdated.
Emotional intelligence is key to leading people, and being able to listen and empathize with your employees will make you not only a valuable leader but a helpful colleague. It’s not just about you — it’s also about your team, and if your employees need support, you need to be supporting them.
6. Multiple answers.
All leadership styles have their pros and cons, but it’s important to identify different traits from each that you’d like to adopt. Or, think about leaders you admire and emulate the qualities that make them great.
In order to be an effective and exceptional employee, never mind leader, you must trust in the values of your company, and they should complement your own. If you don’t believe in your company’s mission, why are you working there?
This goes along with #7. You need to really love and believe in your job in order to succeed as a leader there.
While you certainly shouldn’t be involved in conflicts at work, you should be the go-to- person for helping resolve them, even if they don’t directly affect you. This is essential for effective management of your employees.
A leader must be very confident in order to successfully spearhead initiatives. If you don’t, fake it until you do. Your team is more likely to respect you if you project confidence.
Love it or hate it, networking is an important part of your job. You’re a representative of your company, so you’re not just networking for your own career growth; you’re also building your organization’s brand and reputation. You must be attending industry events and more to spread the word and gain investors, partners and other contacts.
You won’t know everything as a leader, and nobody expects you to. Still, you should be “that person” to whom people turn when they need assistance on a project, a work dilemma or even personal career guidance. Your reputation should be solid enough that people trust your opinion and proactively seek it out.