Finding the best leadership assessment tools for your business is critical for identifying potential talent.
Nowadays, there are hundreds of different leadership/personality tests available online, so it is important that you think carefully about which is going to deliver the results you are looking for. Do you want to get a general overview of a large number of people or a detailed insight into a handful of individuals?
Below, we have summarised some of the best leadership assessment tools for your business, answering a variety of objectives.
Arguably the world’s most popular leadership assessment tool, the DISC profiling test is simple and intuitive to use. They’re a quick and easy leadership assessment tool to use with a large group of people.
Whereas other tests tend to focus on an individual’s preferences, DISC measures observable behaviour. More advanced versions will ask you to differentiate between your behaviour at work and at home. Given its popularity, there are a whole host of DISC tests to choose from, of varying quality. We would recommend that you choose one with good reviews or that has been created by a company you trust.
A DISC test will consider whether you are more people-oriented or more task-oriented and whether you are more reserved or active. The four letters of DISC represent the four possible combinations:
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- Dominance (task-oriented and active)
- Influence (people-oriented and active)
- Steadiness (people-oriented and reserved)
- Compliance (task-oriented and active)
These provide employers with an indication of how a team member tends to approach a problem, how they are likely to react to a challenge and what the best way to communicate with them is.
The primary criticism of DISC is that it’s too general and only provides a surface level understanding of an individual, rather than any great insight. Some would argue that the ubiquity of the DISC leadership assessment tool now works against it, with individuals able to guess the ‘preferred answers’.
2. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI)
Another widely used leadership assessment tool is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Launched way back in 1962, the MBTI has now been around for over 50 years. Regularly used for team-building purposes, it divides everyone into one of 16 different personality types. These personalities are represented by a combination of four letters:
- Extroverted (E) vs Introverted (I)
- Sensing (S) vs Intuition
- Thinking (T) vs Feeling (F)
- Judging (J) vs Perceiving (P)
One criticism of the MBTI is that some employees forget their letter combinations. However, if you keep employees engaged in an ongoing leadership development programme, the code should become familiar to them. Such a strategy is vital if the insights derived from taking the MTBI are ever going to be meaningfully acted upon. Furthermore, each four-letter code is given a handy archetype like ‘The Artist’ or ‘The Architect’.
3. Gallup Strengthsfinder
Unusually among the best leadership assessment tools, the Gallup Strengthsfinder focuses predominantly on strengths rather than weaknesses, preferences or behaviours. The argument behind doing so is that it helps to create a more positive mindset in which employees feel motivated, productive and engaged. Ultimately, this can be better for morale than a long discussion of someone’s weaknesses.
At the end of the assessment, each person is told their top 5 strengths out of a list of 30 possibilities. This information can be incredibly useful for coaching individuals on improving their leadership abilities.
4. Saville Assessment
The tests produced by Saville Assessment can broadly be split into two categories: aptitude tests and personality tests. The aptitude tests cover a wide range of skills, including verbal, numerical, spatial, error checking and mechanical.
Known as the Saville Wave, the personality questionnaires look at an individual’s workplace personality and behavioural preferences. Depending on how detailed a profile you require, there are longer or shorter questionnaires available. The longest takes 40 minutes to complete but will establish an individual’s strengths, weaknesses and recommended culture-orientation fit. It will also provide a series of numbers detailing their ability and behavioural fits, incredibly helpful when you have a large volume of information. If you are using this leadership assessment tool with new hires, the information you glean with this test can be used to tailor the onboarding process.
5. 360 Degree Feedback
Simply put, a 360 leadership assessment involves receiving feedback from multiple colleagues. This can be done anonymously or with names associated. The former option can invite more honesty but also unconstructive comments driven by negative personal bias. We would recommend that you ask more than a handful of people to feedback on your leadership qualities as the more responses you get, the easier it is to identify any recurring trends.
Some companies do choose to link this feedback to their decisions around pay rises or promotions.
Leadership Assessment & Development
For over a decade, we've partnered with companies around the world to design and deliver an array of Leadership Assessment & Development programmes.
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