Leadership Assessment2020-09-10T08:58:37+00:00

Leadership Assessment.

How do you know if you’re selecting the right leaders for your organisation? Most people get no training in how to assess leadership capability. And yet this is an area where mistakes can be both costly and highly disruptive.

Professional leadership assessment can help you get it right.

Leadership Assessment for External Recruitment.

This is the most typical use of leadership assessment. Some of my clients come to me because they have previously made a catastrophic hiring error, like the mid-sized company flattered that a big hitter with a long corporate career was willing to be their MD, only to find that the organisation couldn’t accommodate his ego.  

Others have a high stakes appointment they just have to get right, like the retiring CEO of a charity looking for someone to take over her life’s work. Some clients are just wise enough to recognise that an external, professional perspective would be helpful.  

I can support you to make better recruitment decisions by: 

  • Helping you determine what you really need in the role. 
  • Devising a way for you to narrow down the field without my direct involvement 
  • Assessing the final 2 or 3 candidates (or just one if that’s all you’ve got) 
  • Weighing up the pros and cons of each candidate 
  • Exploring how to get the best from your chosen candidate 
  • Projecting a positive image of your organisation by treating every candidate with respect and consideration. 

Sometimes I have a clear recommendation of which candidate to appoint (or whether to appoint if there’s just one). But often it’s not that clear cut. No candidate is perfect. I’ve sat in many a board room talking through what it would mean to appoint candidate A vs candidate B. The final decision is always yours. 

Talk to me today about assessments for recruitment.

Leadership Assessment for Internal Promotion.

Why would you bother to assess someone who already works for you? Surely you know them well enough by now. Well maybe, but you know them in their current role. What a professional leadership assessment will tell you is whether they are ready and able to step up a level. Let’s face it, we’ve all met people who were promoted beyond their level of competence because they were good at a more junior role. This is particularly important when promoting technical experts to leadership positions. Some will be capable of making that move and some won’t. It’s important to know which is which.

There may also be occasions when you have a mix of internal and external candidates for the same role and you need to assess them on a level playing field. Leadership assessment is an ideal way to do that.

Talk to me today about assessments for internal promotion.

Assessment for Leadership Development.

Leadership assessment is not just for appointing people to jobs. It can also be useful in identifying areas where leaders and aspiring leaders need to develop further. I don’t believe that an organisation needs identikit leaders with a common skillset. No individual will excel at all aspects of leadership. A good leadership assessment and feedback discussion can help a someone work out where their strengths lie, what kind of leader they aspire to be and how to focus their development. It often forms the basis of a development plan, perhaps as a prelude to coaching.  

A developmental assessment can also be a key plank in a well-structured succession planning process, identifying the experience, training and support an aspiring leader will need to be ready to take over.  

Talk to me today about assessments for leadership development.

Management Due Diligence.

When you invest in a business, what are you really investing in? Sure, there’s a commercial entity, a product or service and a client base but the growth of that business will be driven by the leadership team. You’re really entrusting your investment to some people. So maybe it’s worth finding out more about who they are, whether there are particular skills missing in the team and how you can best support them to deliver. Leadership assessment in this context, looks at the entire team, identifying risks in the team dynamics, as well as individual capabilities.

The same is true if you’re acquiring a business and some of the existing management team are staying on. A leadership assessment would help you work out how to integrate them into your organisation, particularly if you already know the strengths and limitations of your own leadership team.

Talk to me today about management due diligence.

Leadership Assessment FAQs.

Of course, your judgement is important but what is it based on? Have you found out enough about the person? Do you know how to critically evaluate that information? Common pitfalls I see (starting with the worst) include: 

  • Doing most of the talking and so finding out very little about the candidate, other than whether or not you like them. 
  • Making your mind up within the first 30 seconds then looking for evidence to back up your view (It’s called confirmation bias. You may not even know you’re doing it.) 
  • Not really knowing what you’re looking for, so choosing someone who, in a vague, undefined way, seems to be “our kind of person”.  
  • Focusing on technical skills when what you’re looking for are leadership skills. 
  • Being dazzled by a charismatic candidate who turns out to be all style and no substance. 
  • Refusing to be dazzled by a charismatic candidate and rejecting someone really talented because they seem a bit full of themselves. 
  • Over-valuing relevant sector experience when you might need an outsider’s fresh perspective. 

Professional leadership assessment gives you more information to work with. It doesn’t replace your judgement.  

You might be surprised by how much you can find out from a thorough, professional leadership assessment. How useful would it be to have answers to questions such as:  

  • Is the job too big for this person? Will they be out of their depth? 
  • Is what you see what you get or are they more complex than that? 
  • Can they think strategically?  
  • How well organised are they? Do they get things done?  
  • What are they like as a leader? What do they focus on? Where are their blind spots? 
  • Where will they fit in the existing team? What are they like to work with? 
  • How emotionally resilient are they? What’s going to push their buttons? What might they do under pressure?

This is incredibly useful information whether you’re recruiting externally, promoting internally, identifying a leader’s development needs or checking out the leadership team of a business you’re considering investing in. As well as reducing the risk of bad decisions, it also helps you work out how to get the best from the leaders you appoint or invest in.

Firstly, we develop a really thorough understanding of the purpose of the assessment. What are you trying to find out and why? What’s the context? Clients often find this stage really helps them think through their requirements and maybe reflect on their own leadership style.  

The next stage is the assessment itself, which involves some psychometric assessment and a very in-depth interview. If the assessment is for development purposes, I generally include some 360° feedback as well 

 I write a report in a language you will understand and talk it through with you. I also always offer feedback to the person being assessed. I believe strongly that people who subject themselves to this degree of scrutiny are entitled to know what came out of it.  

Proper ones! Robust, valid, reliable psychometric tools which have been approved by the British Psychological Society and which you need to be qualified to use. The psychometrics used for leadership assessment are not the ones which identify someone’s type (“He’s mostly green with a bit of blue”; “She’s an ENTP”). The   psychometrics I use are highly sophisticated and give a nuanced, complex picture of an individual. The expertise here is in exploring and interpreting the results in the context of the role and the organisation that the assessment is for. 

I am qualified to use a whole range of assessments but have come to rely on three in particular: 

  • The Cognitive Process Profile identifies the level of complexity someone can handle and maps this to the level of the job. 
  • The NEO-PI-3 is the gold standard ‘Big 5’ personality measure 
  • The Hogan Development Survey uncovers the shadow side of personality, revealing which of a person’s strengths they may overplay in a dysfunctional way under pressure. 

Talk to me today about your assessment needs.

Caroline has provided trusted, candid and robust insights to inform numerous selection decisions. Her professional, insightful and non-threatening approach, elicit a deeper analysis of candidates’ suitability than interviews alone.”

Andrew Richards, Managing Partner, PKF-Francis Clark

Caroline’s support with our recruitment process was a revelation – her compelling combination of psychology, insight and gentle challenge brought an unexpected depth of understanding and confidence to our decision to appoint.”

Catherine Mitchell, Employment Lawyer and Director of Mitchell Law

Caroline has been very helpful in developing efficient selection strategies to ensure we choose the right candidates. The selection techniques provide the added benefit of helping with development programmes for the staff once they have joined the company”

Mark Gordon, CEO, T Jolly Services Ltd    

Caroline’s assessments are very thought-provoking. She’s stopped me recruiting the wrong people and identified the best candidates. You get a really rounded view of a person, their potential and how to get the best from them.”

John Midgley, former MD, Touchstone

Caroline helped us with psychometric profiling of a candidate for a strategically important role within the organisation. She spent time really getting to know what we needed, getting to know us, the organisation culture, the role and our aspirations for the person too. She has a natural gift in being able to explain complex psychological assessments in a way that make sense and gives you a well-rounded and unbiased view of the person.”

Lindsay Lucas, MD, Software Solved

Caroline is a very capable, friendly and efficient BusinessPsychologist. In my dealings with her, I really appreciatedher warm yet professional approach, that produced very insightfulresults & feedback.” 

Chris Green, Director, MEMPRO

Caroline provides excellent coaching and support to our recruitment of senior staff. I particularly value her ability to guide me to the root of issues and to help me to find the solutions for myself. She is incisive and insightful and has a comprehensive understanding both of businesses and of people.”

Phil Horton, MD Dulas

Caroline’s assessments really get under the skin of a person. They don’t just help us decide whether to take a person on but how to manage them and what to watch out for once they’ve started.”

Andrew Wood, Finance Director, Rock Roofing  

Caroline’s input is a really valuable part of the recruitment process.For a senior role why wouldn’t you take advantage of the insight itbrings?”

Paul Giessler, Partner, PKF-Francis Clark

Related Articles

How do you know if someone is up to the job? - You’ve got a vacancy for senior position. It’s critical you get the right person. You’ve got a range of qualified, experienced candidates to choose from. How do you know which ones are up to the job? I don’t mean here ‘Will they take on the responsibility?’ or ‘Can they handle the pressure?’. These are important factors and will be the… ...
Can psychology predict who will go off the rails? - So the former chairman of the UK’s leading ethical bank has been revealed as having an illegal drug habit and a colourful private life not entirely in-keeping with his image as an upstanding member of the community and man of the church. Naturally questions have been asked about just what kind of assessment or vetting process the Co-Op and the… ...

Joining at a distance: Five things missing when people start new jobs remotely

We’re nearly a year into the pandemic and, for many of us, life goes on. I'm working with companies who are recruiting and coaching a couple of people who’ve started new leadership positions during lockdown. But starting a new job is different now.  This month I want to focus what's missing when people start new jobs in a pandemic. So ...

February 13th, 2021|

Get in Touch

To find out more about how I can help you, use the form below to send a message and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Go to Top