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The Dos and Don'ts of Leadership Assessment

The Dos and Don’ts of Leadership Assessment

Leadership assessment has become a more popular tool to understand leadership competency and potential over the last 15 years.

We consider leadership assessment to be a combination of psychometric assessment and depth feedback, consultant interviews to benchmark experience and for development, 360-degree feedback and development centres.

The purpose of any leadership assessment and development programme is to drive better employee engagement and bottom-line performance. This is because it looks at the potential for candidates to take on bigger leadership roles as well as competency for existing positions.

When to Use Leadership Assessment

Typically, leadership assessment is used in three situations:

  • For internal and external hiring or succession management.
  • Team assessment to understand the Enterprise Leadership dynamic.
  • In leadership development situations in order to identify development needs and strengths at individual level.

The Benefits of Leadership Assessment

  • Decisions are more robust and objective because it provides a better and broader perspective on the candidate/participant.
  • Data can be benchmarked against comparators.
  • The leadership assessment is valued by participants because it helps them understand their own strengths and development areas.

This is important as self-awareness is a critical component of leadership development.

The Dos and Don’ts of Leadership Assessment

From our extensive experience of running assessments over many years we can share our Dos and Don’ts:


  • Assess participants using multiple methods including assessment and feedback interviews.
  • Choose appropriate tools for the application, e.g., 360-degree feedback for leadership development and psychometric assessment for selection.
  • Be clear and transparent with stakeholders including participants around the purpose of the leadership assessment, the tools and the decisions which will be reached. OPG consultants have noted that programmes which are well communicated to stakeholders are far more effective then when they are not.
  • Engage experts who can add value with benchmark data and impartiality. Good consultancies like The OPG have the experience and benchmark data to provide real insights into what high performance and potential means.

The Don’ts:

  • Use the wrong tools for the application. For example, 360-degree feedback is effective in leadership development scenarios but not selection or succession management.
  • Abdicate tough performance conversations to the assessor. Senior leadership must own this activity.
  • Not be clear around purpose and use of the assessment or worse, give misleading or incomplete reasons for the programme to participants. For example, we recommend that, when undertaking high stakes assessment, it is made clear to participants before the project begins what will happen afterwards.
  • Ignore the assessment findings and conversely, place an over reliance on assessment data to the detriment of other data sources.

By using leadership assessment HR leaders can have better conversations with business leaders around human capital and talent in the organisation.

To find out more have a look at our page on leadership assessment. To find out how we can help your organisation to use Leadership Assessment, simply click here to get in touch.

Matthew Davis

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