THE TEST OF LEADERSHIP
A lot of times as leaders, we keep going without taking a pause to reflect and assess how we are doing. We base our assessment on how fast we are going and how well we are doing, but the true test of leadership is based on growth in all areas of your life; be it physical, emotional or intellectual. At various points, it important to pause, turn back and conduct a self-assessment test. This kind of test is non-discriminatory; both leaders in Entrepreneurship and Corporate Businesses should be keen on taking this journey of self-assessment. You will need to ask yourself multiple questions including: How curious have you been in gaining knowledge? How much have you unlearned and what new things have you added to your portfolio of knowledge?
A lot of times when knowledge is discussed, it is assumed that it is knowledge of only technical capabilities. However, to have comprehensive knowledge, there needs to be knowledge of self, knowledge of environment, knowledge of the people surrounding you and the principles that lead us to know whether we are truly gaining knowledge.
There are 4 Es we need to focus on to understand how well we are adapting to growth. Outside of these 4 Es I will share with you are existing assessments that are being used, one of them being the psychometrics 360 assessment. It is popular for being a standard way by which leaders get feedback on their leadership performance. Analytics from the feedback report is helpful in guiding you to identify both your strength and developmental needs. The behavioral report can be broken down into 3 key areas: work and execution, interacting with others, thinking and deciding. The test questions are customized to suit the career field you represent. Many have argued that this form of assessment is not a good measure of an individual’s personality characteristics and aptitude, but for the most part this assessment method has proven to be reliable and consistent over many years.
Nonetheless, there is no test better than taking some time to assess how well you know yourself by asking the relevant questions and receiving feedback from others. Opening yourself up to criticism can be uncomfortable, vulnerable and difficult. Yet, this is a step in the process you should not avoid. You must stop and analyze what people are saying about you, and find alignment by being honest with your answers and internal self-evaluation. Having tested many types of evaluations and leadership assessments, I have developed four filters that can help you kickstart your self-assessment and gain honest feedback on your performance as a leader.
The communication process of evaluation must be plain-spoken and open. Despite the fact that you are a leader, your subordinates should be given a judgement-free and positive communication climate to air their views. To know how well you do pertaining to this, ask yourself the following questions:
How do I position myself in a place of ease with everyone around me during both difficult and light times? In meetings, how easily do I adapt to situations? Am I fair and firm? Am I dictatorial and autocratic?
A personality test can only tell you one part of it. But the more important question you need to ask yourself is, ‘How relaxed are you?’ People should be able to sense the humanity and ease in your behavior through your daily activities.
It is common to experience setbacks and resistance on your journey as a leader. When you do experience them, how do you respond in a situation of resistance. In the event that you get pushed back during a project, how much long game do you play as a leader? How much energy do you put into ensuring that no matter how much resistance you get, you still have enough energy to push forward because you have pre-planned how you are going to deal with situations around you? Your energy in any given situation determines the outcome of events. It determines whether you grow and the level of your growth.
How much of your influence comes from your expertise? Does everything you do filter through the system? How many people have you duplicated yourself in and in how many environments will people be able to quickly say what you know without you having to explain yourself? As a leader, your message must come through your expertise and it must be communicated clearly.
Meaningful conversations are not one-sided. They are engaging; a game of give and take. Can you tell the level of your engagement? How well do you connect with people? How much power do you have to reach people and to have people reach you? How many people can say that they are well-connected to you and at any time, when they come to you, they are assured of your guidance, support, feedback and empathy?
As a leader there are many filters through which people see us. And yes, the general tests will give us close enough results on our personality, but deep within your person, these filters must be done. We must pause and think before we press play again.