Submitted by thomas_admin on Thu, 05/13/2021 - 08:50

We have all come across good and bad leaders in our time, but, how do we know to choose someone who can fulfil the role of a great leader? It’s the debate many businesses have over their lifetime, and for those looking for business success, a great leader in a team can be the difference between hitting targets or staying in the slow lane. 

In this guide we are going to take a look at what a leadership assessment is, how they can be used to find the talent, the different types of leadership and how Thomas can help you find the leaders in your organisation.

We have a body of tools and resources that are ready to be used to understand more about leaders and practical ways of developing great leaders in every team. .

What is a leadership assessment?

A leadership assessment test is designed to help employers identify an individual’s ability to lead, manage, and direct others. Do they have what it takes to become a leader in their teams and within the business? That’s what a leadership assessment is designed to answer. 

Businesses spend countless hours training staff, trying to perfect systems and create better work environments, but leadership has always been a big debate. Many have found themselves in management positions but have struggled to lead whilst those who want to lead may be getting overlooked for a variety of reasons. 

The debate, can leadership be taught or is it inherent rages - but leadership assessments bring social science to the foreground looking at characteristics, behaviours and even temperament to uncover who may be the leader that the business requires, or didn’t even realise they had under their noses. 

When recruiting for leaders within an organisation one of the key elements is also understanding the business world that we live in. Leadership takes many different forms and different types of leadership styles are required in an ever changing world that we live in, that’s where leadership assessment comes into play. Understanding who has the kinds of characteristics and attitudes to these new styles of working is of great advantage. 

Finding staff that have the aptitude and characteristics to lead is the biggest challenge. Whether it is succession planning, workforce development or even lateral hiring within an organisation knowing what to look for is absolutely essential in creating the right environment to build a leader within a team.

How are leadership tests used?

Leadership tests are used to identify and describe individuals' abilities and skills as they refer to leading, managing and directing others and how their characteristics and skills fit into their leadership positions. Leadership tests are used to take account of the present and future ability of a given person and position. 

Leadership tests can be used to identify candidates who are:

  • Starting their career in the business and demonstrate the potential or lack of potential to be a leader
  • Those looking to improve their career chances and develop their position within the business
  • For succession planning, especially in well-established organisations who are looking for someone to carry the culture of the business forward

Using the right kinds of tests is also essential in identifying the leadership characteristics. We will look at what the different styles of leadership look like later on. 

Having good leaders is also important for a company’s overall success, productivity and reducing turnover by creating loyalty and improving the general mood of the employees. The opposite can be said for business leaders who are the exact opposite. 

A manager who possesses good leadership skills is thus an asset for the company. This is why many organizations are turning to leadership assessments to help them identify leadership candidates with leadership skills. 

Finally, leadership roles are directly related to the future success or failure of a business. Using these kinds of tests helps identify who can lead and who can create the future vision of the business.

What leadership ability tests measure

Leadership ability tests are designed to measure a number of things specific to the characteristics of great leaders. This includes things like, self confidence, emotional intelligence and even providing a compelling vision of the future. We are going to take a look at some of these areas and give a more brief insight into these leadership characteristics. Remember, all of these areas can be tested through questions on leadership assessments. 

Self confidence 

How you deal with set-backs and the way you talk to yourself can be measured in these tests. Understanding that self confidence is part of what makes a great leader is key. Knowing that you add real value to your work and to those around you is the starting point. 

Positive attitude and outlook 

Do you see the glass half full or half empty? A positive attitude and outlook is essential to leadership, helping to navigate others during times of uncertainty. This kind of attitude builds confidence and inspires others to see things with a positive mindset in the long run. 

Emotional intelligence 

Emotional Intelligence or EQ as it otherwise known is the ability to recognise feelings - your own and those of others - and manage those emotions to create strong relationships. Having this soft set of skills is essential in building teams and trust in those teams to develop the business moving forwards. 

Providing a compelling vision of the future

It’s one thing to lead, it’s another to get others to see what it is you’re trying to create. Think of Steve Jobs and Elon Musk - they have the ability to make others see very clearly where the business is headed. If you can communicate with your team what you want to achieve, you will find more people joining your vision than dispelling it. 

Motivating people to deliver the vision

Once you have shown that vision and compelled people to chase it, can you motivate them to deliver it? Can you find a way of communicating with what they need to make it a reality? That’s a key part of the leadership development process. 

Managing performance effectively

Can you manage individuals and teams effectively? How are they performing and how can you make them perform better? These are key questions to be able to answer when becoming a leader. 

If you can assess a candidate on these elements, you will be able to see who will have a more rounded approach (think hard and soft skills) to those who can inspire a vision for the future (dreamers).

The different types of leadership

There are of course different types of leadership. Each style will have advantages and disadvantages and the industry you operate in will call for different styles of leadership because it suits the industry. We are going to take a closer look at these different types of leadership styles. 

Democratic leadership

This is rooted in democratic theory which involves other members of the team in the decision making process. The leader will normally have the last word in the decision making process but team members feel engaged with the process and motivated to contribute. Disagreements however can take up time and slow down decision making time.

Autocratic leadership

This is rooted in autocratic theory where the leader makes all the decisions and there is no room for discussion for any alternative theory. Autocratic leaders make decisions based on their own theories and beliefs and have no time for others in the process.

Laissez faire leadership

This leadership style is completely opposite to the autocratic style. Instead of a single leader making decisions for everyone else, laissez faire leaders make few decisions and let everyone else choose their own workplace solutions.

Strategic leadership

This is someone who is loyal to the company and the organisation’s vision but believes in transparency, effective communication, problem-solving, delegation, passion for their job, compassion, and empathy for others and self-awareness. The aim is to get others to see the company vision and work towards the same goal.

Transformational leadership

In transformational leadership, the leader is using their skills to show the vision of the company of the future and using different skills that encourages and empowers individuals to go after that same vision.

Transactional leadership

Transactional leadership is about the ‘give and take’ principles of management where the leader uses things such as rewards and punishments in order to achieve business goals. This is about ensuring that the day to day gets carried out the way that it needs to be over anything else.

Charismatic leadership

This is a leadership style that is concerned with getting others to carry out their vision or goals through the use of eloquent communication, persuasion and force of personality. This is very common in leaders who have a very ethereal style of communicating, coming across almost as divine.

Bureaucratic leadership

Just the word bureaucratic should say everything you need to know. This is leadership that is concerned with a formalised set of processes, procedures, and structures. There is a hierarchy of authority and everything is very well laid out to avoid confusion. 

Through leadership assessment tools, you can begin to understand what kind of leaders you may have in your organization.

How Thomas can help you to identify and develop leaders

Using the globally recognised and respected 'Big 5' psychological theory Thomas' Personality assessment (also known as the High Potential Trait Indicator, or HPTI), helps you to understand if someone is well suited to a certain job role or position. Assessing six core traits (Conscientiousness, Adjustment, Curiosity, Risk Approach, Ambiguity Acceptance and Competitiveness) it can also help you to identify leadership potential, adding confidence to your recruitment.

Whether you are looking for the next superstar to join your team, possibly even start to change team dynamics or you want to measure the level of conscientiousness in your workplace, the Thomas assessment platform allows you to recruit with data, not just gut feel.

If you are interested in learning more about our assessments, speak to one of our team.