How Do You Know If You’re An Effective Leader?

Self-assessment is critical
If constructive feedback is hard to come by, you may have to take matters into your own hands with a self-assessment.

As a business leader, you’re probably accustomed to conducting performance reviews with employees. But what about you? Who’s reviewing your performance?

The higher up the organizational ladder that business leaders climb, the fewer opportunities there are to obtain constructive feedback. It can be easy to get stuck within a leadership bubble, isolated and cocooned from any criticism or feedback, or avoiding it entirely if you don’t want to hear it.

So, what’s the answer? One helpful solution can be leadership self-assessments.

This activity may not always be fun and can be challenging, but it’s an essential practice for those who strive for improvement.

What is Leadership Self-Assessment?

A self-assessment or evaluation is a review of yourself that:

  • Takes an honest look at where you are right now
  • Assesses what you’re doing well and should continue
  • Reveals competencies in which you may struggle
  • Uncovers opportunities for improvement
  • Confirms what you should stop doing altogether
  • Evaluates progress toward professional goals

Benefits of a Self-Assessment

A self-assessment is critical for:

  • Enhancing self-awareness
    • Knowing your strengths to augment and capitalize on
    • Knowing your weaknesses to improve upon or eliminate
    • Insight into your tendencies, drivers, de-motivators and stressors
  • Identifying and banishing undesirable behaviors and habits that can impair relationships with employees, therefore reducing turnover while increasing productivity and morale
  • Formulating a plan to reach your goals faster

When you share your self-assessment practices with employees and explain to them how you’re trying to improve in certain areas, you can:

  • Instill and reinforce a culture of continuous learning and improvement
  • Inspire others to act similarly
  • Expose your vulnerability and humility to your team, which can have a positive impact on your culture and relationships
  • Encourage honest, transparent communications

What to Include?

Consider which competencies and skills are most relevant to your role and type of work.

Examples of common areas of evaluation for leaders:

It’s easy to want to touch on everything. To prevent this exercise from becoming overwhelming, select your personal top five to seven competencies.

The Self-Assessment Process

Once you’ve identified the competencies on which you’ll judge yourself, you’re ready to get started.

You have a couple of options:

1. Create your own questionnaire and rate yourself

This option allows you to tailor your questionnaire to your company and leadership role. It doesn’t have to be lengthy or complicated, but it does need to address the core competencies you’ve identified as most important.

This can be done through a series of:

  • Questions
  • Agree/disagree statements
  • Opportunities to rank yourself on a scale

2. Use a third-party tool

If you want to gain the most objective, bias-free picture of yourself and understand how others view you, this is a great choice. There are different types of leadership assessment tools and personality tests, such as Myers-Briggs or DISC.

At the same time, you can supplement your self-evaluation by conducting a 360-degree assessment, during which you solicit feedback from people at different levels of your organization who have a working relationship with you.

These individuals could be:

  • Colleagues or peers
  • Direct reports on your team
  • Vendors
  • Clients
  • Mentors

Mistakes to Avoid

Take care to avoid tainting the results of your leadership self-assessment. Top mistakes that leaders make when engaging in a self-assessment are:

  • Allowing your own bias to creep in. For example, cherry picking competencies that you know you’re good at and rating yourself only for those
  • Making excuses for yourself and not being 100 percent honest in your evaluation
  • Being overly negative, which can diminish your confidence and motivation
  • Not sharing the results of the evaluation with a select group of people to broaden your perspective and identify any blind spots
  • Ignoring the results and continuing with “business as usual”

For information about Insperity® HR services, contact us at [email protected].


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